Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's A Dirty Job And Somebody's Got To Clean It Up

Michael Clayton is less a movie about the uncovering of a corrupt corporation, and more about a man discovering himself. The poster reads "The Truth Can Be Adjusted" and no one can adjust the truth better than Michael Clayton (George Clooney). Clayton is a lawyer at Kenner, Bach & Ledeen, one of New York's largest firms, but he's never referred to as such. Instead, he is called a miracle worker, a keeper of sins, a fixer, a janitor. When a client or even someone within the firm is in trouble, they call on Michael Clayton. His boss Marty Bach (Sydney Pollack who may just be the best acting director out there) says that Clayton is a good trial attorney but the world is full of those. He praises Clayton for carving out a niche for himself as the man that fixes problems.

And as a fixer, Clooney plays his role perfectly. To cut Michael Clayton in two would be to reveal all the dark, dirty secrets that reside in New York and half the corporations in the world, but you wouldn't know any of that to speak to the man. He is not boastful, nor is he a nervous wreck. He is calm, cool and possesses a stare that goes beyond 1,000 yards. There is no problem you can present to him that would cause him to sit down and scratch his head. He is calculated and to question his motives is only to waste precious time. But honestly, how could Clooney miss in his role? Look at what he has had to learn from.

In La Femme Nikita, Jean Reno plays Victor nettoyeur, better known as Victor The Cleaner. Victor is The assassin of assassins. Victor doesn't talk much because he doesn't have to. When he's called upon, you know what's going to happen and it's not going to be pretty. Unlike Clayton, Victor is literally there to clean up and his conditions are non-negotiable. If there's an assignment gone bad, Victor works on behalf of the bigger boss and everyone is expendable to make sure that nothing is traceable. If you don't take Victor's advice, he will just add you to the bodies already burning in a bathtub full of acid.

In Pulp Fiction, Harvey Keitel plays Winston Wolfe, better known as The Wolf. The Wolf is a cleaner about town. An upstanding business man who would be voted most likely to host a party for an upcoming politician. The Wolf talks fast and thinks fast. His solutions are practical and somewhat obvious. Unlike Victor, you can argue with The Wolf and not die in the process, but you can count on a nice verbal lashing. And there's no doubt that if The Wolf really wanted to, he could probably make a quick phone call and have you killed.


Sheamus the... said...

Cool comparisons...didnt Harvey K play Jean Reno's character in Point of No Return which is a remake of La Femme. I love Nikita and hated Return. But all the same.

Anonymous said...

It's so weird ... I avoided this movie simply because the name just bored me to tears.

Isn't that wrong?

PIPER said...


Yes Harvey played Reno's character in Point Of No Return. And yes it sucked greatly.


I have to say I wasn't terribly excited about the movie when I watched it yesterday but it is very, very good and worth a look if it's still playing around you.

Maximus Doom said...

Thats a beautiful darkness in the light of your examinations. I'm gonna have to bookmark this and come back. NICE blog. That's a movie of endless blogs. What is juice without pulp?