Another Oscar win?

There are many classifications of films in Hollywood. First, there’s the blockbusters: what some may call movies that lack originality, thought and skill, yet somehow earn the most money. There are box office bombs, which are exactly the same as the blockbuster, except moviegoers were smart enough to spend their money on a different movie. Independent films, also known as “indie” films, are usually quirky and original, but because of budget reasons, do not reach wide audiences. The list continues.

But what do we call those movies that have the mindset of an independent film, yet are intended to be a blockbuster? Perhaps Oscar-worthy would be a fitting term.

One actor who seems to be concerned most with this type of film is George Clooney.

As of late, Clooney seems to be avoiding the whole blockbuster battle and focusing more on directing and acting in movies that showcase his skill and make audiences think. His latest movie, “Michael Clayton” does just that.

While many have referred to this movie as a thriller, it does not quite fit that description. Sure, the movie includes a manic-depressive lawyer, cars being blown to smithereens and hired assassins. But while these might sound like heart-stopping action sequences, watching Michael Clayton in its entirety shows that this movie was not intended to thrill audiences the way many other movies do.

The plot revolves around Clooney’s title character, a lawyer who has served at a major Manhattan law firm for 17 years without making partner. What is strange about this is that Clayton is considered to be a “miracle worker,” one of those lawyers that only those with power and money can afford; his character specializes in picking up the pieces of cases without requiring the court room.

However, Clayton is stuck with a case that seems almost impossible to “fix.” The case revolves around a $3 billion lawsuit against UNorth, a company that has manufactured a chemical weed-killer that resulted in hundreds of deaths on family farms. The defender of this case, Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson), begins to lose his mind (or so it seems) after he strips down in a court room after going off his manic-depressive medication. Edens, however, is convinced that he has evidence that will win the case.

Clayton’s job is made more difficult as the movie progresses, as Edens appears to be more and more off his rocker. Not only does Clayton have difficulty dealing with Edens, but both Clayton and Edens are being closely watched by a pair of “troubleshooters,” hired by UNorth’s in-house council (Tilda Swinton). This duo will do anything they can to keep UNorth from losing the case, including murder.

“Michael Clayton” does not involve any plot twists, but maybe it should. It seems as if the movie’s purpose is strictly to make audiences think. If one does not give their full attention to the movie, they are likely to miss something important, thus defeating the purpose of the movie. Clooney and his fellow actors deliver solid performances, however, and it would be almost disappointing to find Michael Clayton absent from the Oscar nominees.

3 out of 4 stars