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Top Movies of the Decade #15

15. Michael Clayton

Sometimes a director’s toughest job is just keeping all of the great elements of a movie from cancelling each other out.   Tony Gilroy made a name for himself writing the scripts for the Bourne movies, and then made his directorial debut with “Michael Clayton,”  which has a knockout script, more plotlines than most trilogies, a great sense of style, both ruthless and dashing, and incredible supporting performances from Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, and Sydney Pollack.  Gilroy manages to balance it all to produce a taut, intellgent, utterly entertaining corporate corruption thriller, but perhaps the most impressive thing about “Michael Clayton” is George Clooney, who was smart enough to turn down the wattage on his million-dollar smile and charisma in order to make the whole thing work.  Up til this point, Clooney, was a movie star; “Clayton” marks his development into a bona fide actor.

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