Tonight I saw Michael Clayton, starring George Clooney and Tom Wilkinson.
Forgive me for being stunned, but how did this manage to rack up an Oscar® nomination for Best Picture? It's a solid movie with solid acting, but that's about it.
Clooney does fine as the title character, a legal 'fixer-upper' sort that seems to constantly be in more danger than he realizes. Wilkinson also shines as Arthur, a chemically imbalanced member of the same legal firm that is threatening to turn one of their big corporate cases upside down. Everyone else is gravy.
The story follows a damning memorandum in reverse to explain how the characters come to be (or not) four days later. I found these flashbacks irritating—not because I didn't understand them—because the same tale could've been told in a linear fashion with more exciting results. Once you catch on to the Same Old Corporate Argument, it's pretty clear who will reign victorious when all is said and done (allowing, of course, for at least one shocking death).
Tilda Swinton plays a minor role as a major player in the case, and she's good as usual, but almost underutilized for the amount of time she appears on screen.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I went into the film hoping to be dazzled by a smart thriller and unfortunately got a little bored.