Michael Clayton (HD-DVD/DVD Combo Format)
B+/C+ Sound: B/B- Extras: C+ Film: B
Note: This title has also been released
in the Blu-ray format.
Gilroy’s Michael Clayton (2007) was
first announced and trailers surfaced, I figured the film could be a big miss
or a pleasant surprise. It turned out to
be a strong thriller with great performances all around that many then expected
could be a surprise hit. When it did
only moderate business, I was among the disappointed, then came awards season
and the film received new attention it absolutely deserved and started to
finally get its due.
home video, everyone can finally see why it gained so many strong supporters
early on. Maybe it was the title, but
for whatever reason, the film is made for a big screen and its availability on
HD-DVD and Blu-ray can only help high Definition in general.
Clooney is the tile character, a troubleshooting adjuster who helps out the
rich and powerful with situations they do not want to dirty their hands
with. He is damn good at what he does
and that is why he gets the big bucks.
When the head of a corporation (Tom Wilkinson) looses his mind in the
middle of merger talks, he is called in to help again, but in this case, knows
the man well. However, while his client
has made the mistake of going off his medication, it turns out he is really
suppressing a dark secret that some will kill to keep that way.
investigates for the case and for himself, he discovers other things he is not
in the loop on are being done and they may be making the mistake of
underestimating him, but desperate people will go to great lengths to do ugly
things and the film just gets more and more intense.
Pollack is back playing a role somewhat similar to his work in Stanley
Kubrick’s Eyes wide Shut and the underrated Tilda Swinton is the executive on
the rise who has to deal with the firestorm of insanity on her end. She rightly won an Academy Award for her impressive
performance, which particularly shocked the many young, new, inexperienced
critics who had never seen her in her early glory working with the great Derek
most thrillers, which are junk and think shaking a camera for 90 minutes is
thrilling, this is a mature, intelligent, substantial work of the kind we used
to see all the time, but have become all too increasingly rare. Director Gilroy also wrote the screenplay,
which is very well thought out and packs a punch, but relies even less on
action than his critically and commercially successful work on the Jason Bourne
films. With this success and the third Bourne film being the biggest box
office winner yet, we’ll be seeing more of Bourne and definitely more of
you are a Bourne fan or not, Michael
Clayton is one of the best thrillers of the year, best films of the year
and has more power and impact than you might expect.
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is very nicely rendered as compared to
the 35mm release (this was shot in Super 35mm) and noticeably better than the
anamorphically enhanced low-def DVD-Video side on the same disc. Some stylizing choices by the exceptional
Director of Photography Robert Elswit, A.S.C., who received the best
Cinematography Academy Award for his work for the year, but on Paul Thomas
Anderson’s There Will Be Blood that
edged it out by simply being a more challenging shoot, hold the image back in
parts fidelity wise. However, they add
to the mood of the film and serve it better than “Windex vision” a bad HD shoot
the Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 on the HD side is better than the lower bitrate
Dolby 5.1 on the DVD side, but the big disappointment is that this is not in
Dolby TrueHD 5.1 as this is a pretty decent soundmix (including a good James
Newton Howard score) for a dramatic thriller that also happens to be dialogue
driven. Maybe it was consideration for
it being a Combo disc, but you are better off on the HD side in both technical
cases, as it should be. Extras include
additional scenes and a fine feature length audio commentary by Director Tony
Gilroy and Editor John Gilroy.
miss one of the best thrillers of the year!
- Nicholas Sheffo