Michael Clayton is the fix-it man for a large New York law firm Kenner, Bach & Odeen.

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Passed over for a partnership position due to his personal gambling habits, which in turn is compounded by a drug addled brother whom Michael has borrowed heavily from a loan shark to cover, things couldn’t get much worse. Of course, they do.

His company are the defense team in a class action suite brought against U-North, a pesticide manufacturer whose in-house lawyer, Karen Crowder, is not only ambitious but will do anything to get the job done. Just as U-North is about to settle the $3 billion lawsuit out of court, Kenner, Bach & Odeen’s lead litigator Arthur Eden has a mental breakdown in court. And so the fun begins.

Michael Clayton is a great study in how human frailties can come in all walks of life, and sometimes it doesn’t matter how successful you are, everybody has the same types of problems.

Clooney is methodic and has taken a risk playing a person who knows he’s not as nice/good as he could be, and Swinton, whose career seems to be going from strength-to-strength, certainly desereved to be nominated for the Oscar, but with such limited screen time, I was surprised she got it (then again, fellow Brit Dame Judy Dench got hers for about 10 minutes work in Shakespeare in Love).

Stand out performances for me were the always reliable Tom Wilkinson as the nutty Eden, while the late Sydney Pollack gave his character a believably subdued nuance that others might have over acted. The ending is slightly predictable, but doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the pic.

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