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Michael Clayton

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10th Mar 2008 | 12:38 pm
location: Brooklyn, New York
disposition: productiveproductive
diversion: Sorry, Wrong Number

Having never seen a single episode of E.R., I came late to the George Clooney Appreciation Society. But ever since his amazing line reading of "Goddamn, that was intense!" in 1996's From Dusk Till Dawn, I've been a fan. And not just of his acting. For a star of his magnitude, his willingness to get behind--and within--risky, noncommercial projects (especially as producer/director of HBO's under-appreciated, oft-maligned miniseries Unscripted) is equally impressive.

Which brings us to Michael Clayton, an intelligent thriller that manages to be mainstream without ever condescending to its audience. Clooney is great as the lawyer who once had everything going for him (good looks, intelligence, career) but is painfully aware that he's already pissed most of it away. Writer/director Tony Gilroy handles it all expertly--right up to and through the brilliant two-minute-plus shot of Clooney that ends the film, wherein we watch as Michael Clayton not only looks back on what's happened but, we hope, looks ahead.

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