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Michael Clayton


Sorry, sports fans: George Clooney's latest video release is not a bio-pic about a Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver. No, this Michael Clayton (Clooney) is a high-powered New York law firm's "fixer," the guy who gets important clients out of jams before they ever head to court. The firm needs Clayton to straighten out one of the partners (Tom Wilkinson), who goes batty near the conclusion of a six-year, multibillion-dollar class-action suit against a pesticide manufacturer. The problem is, the evil company may have their own methods for achieving this. One can't watch a legal thriller without comparing it to the screen-adapted works of author John Grisham. In short, Michael Clayton doesn't feel as Hollywood slick as most of the Grisham pics, but it's quite potent, thanks largely to writer/director Tony Gilroy's brilliant vision and an array of wonderful actors (Clooney, Wilkinson, Michael O'Keefe, Sydney Pollack and Tilda Swinton) cast as the litigators.

There aren't many twists and turns, but there's plenty of story and interesting characters to keep the plot rolling. And for anyone who empathized with Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich, there's an even darker, more sinister company involved here. Legal thrillers like this are often even more exciting because a viewer can almost picture super-corporations behaving badly behind their locked board room doors.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.