Come to think of it, there are other wonderful single lines from movies. Here are a few--can you name the movie?
- All right, Mr DeMille, I'm ready for my close up.
- Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!
- Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.
- I'll be back.
- I could dance with you till the cows come home...On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows when you came home.
- Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'.
- Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.
- Little girls, I am in the business of putting old heads on young shoulders, and all my pupils are the creme de la creme. Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she is mine for life.
- I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.
OK--enough. You and I both know this list could go on almost forever.
When I started reviewing this year's movie binge my husband and I took, I began with Charlie Wilson's War, the first one we saw. Michael Clayton was the last one we saw, and these two movies share a straight-forward story, tautly told. Charlie Wilson's War is a bit more playful. Michael Clayton is deadly serious.
Michael Clayton is a legal thriller. The opening scenes show us a climactic event, where people are literally sweating what appear to be terms of a deal. We meet Michael Clayton (George Clooney) who is a "fixer" for his law firm. He cleans up messes clients of the firm make. He has been sent to retrieve a partner Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkerson) in the firm who has had a spectacular meltdown where he stripped naked in the middle of a deposition.
Suffice it to say, partners aren't supposed to do that. So Michael tries to fix the situation. Just as he appears to wrap up this situation, he is sent on a call to help another client who has had a hit and run accident. Michael drives out to the Westchester county countryside, cleans up the mess, and then leaves. As he is driving away, he stops his car in the early morning, walks up a hill in seeming reverie of the weight of events. Suddenly, his car below him explodes.
The movie then goes into flashback to lead us up to the explosive moment. Why did the partner Arthur meltdown mid-deposition? What case was he working on? Why do we see Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton), a corporate lawyer turned CEO, in full crisis in a women's bathroom? Why does someone try to blow up Michael Clayton's car? As the movie unfolds over a brief two hours, you learn the answers to all these questions.
The movie is wonderfully woven, with a tour de force performance by the three actors nominated for Academy Awards--George Clooney, Tom Wilkerson, and Tilda Swinton. You will stay riveted through the entire movie, puzzling out with Michael Clayton the moral dilemmas of working just to fix things, not working to make things right.