Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dissection- Michael Clayton

Michael Clayton reads a narrative structure which is at once complex and revealing. It begins in present, then goes back four days telling a tale in pieces removed and put together one by one. As the puzzle solves itself for the protagonist Michael Clayton, its only towards the end does he realise that his friend and boss Arthur was not behaving out of madness.

The most impressive aspect of this film is this puzzle. Although I must admit I could not make sense of the horses shown in the book "realm and conquest" and what they symbolised. They certainly became a threshold, a meeting point where Arthur died and Michael picked up his unfinished task to save people from the ill-intentions of the corporate giant uNorth.

The camera seemed to love George Clooney (Michael Clayton) that often indulged in tight close-ups of his face. His good looks flattered the camera further and the twilight hugged his steady demeanour, which bore an intensity of a man, neck-deep in debt yet holding on to his principles with infallible determination.

Another strong character in the film Karen Crowder, played by Tilda Swinton, was treated by the director with an interplay of quick long shots and close-ups. This technique embodied the perturbed mind of Karen. The interspersed shots of how she prepared for her public appearances and when she actually presented herself revealed an insight into her character- an acute desire for perfection. This and her consummation with work became the root of conflict in the film- how she was driven to cover up the misdeeds of her company and look successful in the eyes of the world.

The movie's script was modern and witty. Tony Gilroy (writer, director) had left no moment slack enough for us to analyse anything before uNorth got what it deserved. When finally it did, it left a fulfillment of an ambition well achieved.

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