Michael Clayton. One word: awesome.
I watched Michael Clayton, played by George Clooney for the second time tonight, delayed somewhat by time taken for it to come out on DVD.
The movie is based around the character Michael Clayton who is a 'fixer' at a large lawyer's firm in NY. He finds himself stuck in a huge dilemma as he is called upon to help sort out a quickly growing issue with one of his associate lawyers. The associate lawyer, Arthur Edens, has been defending a case for "U North" and begins to discover he is really on the wrong side of the case. As he begins to build a case against U North he releases the start of a massive unraveling of something U North has wanted to hide for numerous years.
Michael Clayton is thrust into the case to make it all go away somehow but in his discovery is in turn targeted to hide the evidence.
The reason for me this is one of my favourite movies of all time is the movie subtly challenges the viewer to question themselves about the power of integrity. The power of knowing who you are, what you want to do and sticking to being honest.
George Clooney portrays a struggling, desperate, lost and confused Michael Clayton causing us to truely and honestly feel his despair. The kind of feeling where you get a small lump in your throat and realise you are stuck in some massive hole of nothingness and have absolutely no idea how to get out. It's a movie that, although is helped to create this feeling by magnificent cinematography, bleak lighting, and great dialogue; its strength is in the deep, clear characters themselves.
One of my favourite scenes in the movie is when Michael is driving to nowhere, away from anywhere, and stops his car next to some horses are who are grazing ontop of a small hill. He climbs to the top and looks into the eyes of the horses who are innocently standing together. His look of reality hitting him in the face with what he's lost and the fact he no longer seems to know who he has become is incredibly moving.
Reviews online by other viewers have described this scene as a "What the heck is my life about" moment. I find it challenging because we clearly see a man who has lost his wife, his investment, his talent and his true self and he's realising it all in a moment of rest from his busy work.
This movie has made me think hard about keeping to who I am and not compromising for anything. Not letting honesty or integrity have a walk for a while, but intentionally, and stubbonly, staying focussed on who I want to be.
Fantastic movie, don't miss it!