Sunday, April 06, 2008

20:08 (Debt)

I was missing my old screenshot series this morning so here's one for nostalgia's sake. (Can you have nostalgia for something that was going on mere months ago?)

Screenshot from the 20th minute and 8th second of a movie

Are you telling me you don't have the $75,000?
Michael Clayton is drowning in debt. And one of my favorite things about this movie which stares at him, unblinking, is the way you feel that same crushing burden on all the main characters in the movie, not just Michael. Everyone is drowning, gasping for oxygen at the convergence of career, money and morality.


Anonymous said...

I watched this again on the weekend. Some thoughts:

(i) Two sequences stand out as very bold film-making gestures. The first is the opening sequence, with Wilkinson's raving diatribe over the images of a quiet office building. Strangely enough, it reminds me of the tracking camera down corridors over a feint voice that opened LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD. The second is the sequence where Wilkinson wanders the city as he is stalked, and Clooney leaves a message on his answering machine.

(ii) Second time around, more attuned to the flow of the narrative, I enjoyed this film a lot more. The first time, I felt the flashback structure might have scuppered the film's last third. I'm still not convinced it was a good move structurally, but when you know what's going to happen, the rather abrupt denouement following the explosion doesn't feel so abrupt.

(iii) While I was glad Tilda Swinton won the award, I do think they could have done a bit more with her character. She kind of disappears in the second half until he final scene.

Anonymous said...



agreed on point
1) and especially point
2) --i still feel weird about the flashback structure. But then, I realize i have personal biases against those. As far as general trending goes, i don't like framing devices.
3) disagree here. The film is not hers (though she is the best thing in it)

as far as Pitt... I'm not sure exactly what people see in that performance. I like it just fine but one of the best of the year? (please note: am a big fan and do think he's deserved more than his one measly nomination)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful little thesis statement on Michael Clayton. It's made me want to grab it off the shelf and rewatch. right. now.

Also can I just say you can totally get nostalgic for the recent past. I've lately realised that I probably live in the past more than I do in the present or future, and I'm such a nostalgic person. I get all teary-eyed and gooey for things that happened mere months ago - even if they weren't momentous or even that glorious occasions. Or some memory from not-so-long-ago sets me off on a lament that things will never be the same ever again.


i believe this thesis in miniature is heavily influenced by Nick's brilliant review. I haven't read it since he wrote it but I know he talked a lot about the debt.

MichaelMcl said...

It's also very moving to watch Pollack in this film, knowing that it could be his last performance in the worldly-wise old corporate figure role he's played so many times over the years.

- Opinionated Australian