It might sound like a familiar corporate thriller—a court case, dark secrets, attacks of conscience—but Entertainment Weekly says Michael Clayton makes it all seem fresh, calling it “better than good.” It’s no Erin Brockovich, raves Slate, fading white and black hats to gray. And George Clooney's performance has critics thinking Oscar.
Clayton was written by Bourne scribe Tony Gilroy, who makes his directorial debut. He has a steady hand and eye, the New York Times says, and if he doesn’t reinvent the legal thriller, he entertainingly reappraises it. The pacing is slow, Variety complains, calling it a “difficult-to-market, no-frills, few-thrills thriller,” while the Christian Science Monitor derides the overly elaborate backstory.