Essay on Michael Clayton: Film Analysis

Tony Gilroy’s movie Michael Clayton appeared on the movie circuit in 2007, at a time when intellectual thrillers were at a highpoint and amoral lawyers acted as villains. I believe this movie contains messages surrounding the ideology of capitalism.

It is best to understand, exactly what is meant by the term, ideology of capitalism. The following is a definition of capitalism.
Capitalism (n): An economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.
Capitalism (n.d.) in Retrieved November 6, 2015, from,…

(Writer/Director), & Pollack, S. (Producter). (2007). Michael Clayton [Motion Picture]. United States: Warner Brothers Pictures.

The film opens within the dark, empty hall ways of a law firm awakening to a new busy day, accompanied by a frantic, pleading, prophetic voiceover narrating a lawyer’s moment of enlightenment; the moment of realization that his professional life was poisoning not merely his own personal life, but also the miracle of humanity. The moment in which he suddenly apprehended that he has sacrificed his life in the service of a monstrous organism – the law firm – whose sole purpose was to assist larger monstrous organisms in destroying innocent human lives.
Kamir, O. (2009) Suffolk University Law Review. Michael Clayton, Hollywood’s Contemporary Hero-Lawyer. [Vo. XLH: 831].
In the film’s opening scenes, we are brazenly shown how one man’s legal ethics are broken and crumbled. Arthur’s actions are said to be by others, attributed to a chemical imbalance with a manic depressive state of mind. Out of 600 lawyers in the firm, he is a successful senior litigating partner, dedicating six years of his life which consist of 400 depositions, 100 motions, and 5 changes of venue including 85,000 documents in…

Once the line is crossed, criminal activities and immoral actions become synonymous with being firm partner, part of their family and integrity is only a notion. A person living this lifestyle, in which legal business matters undermine all other considerations, including friendship or respect for human life lose their righteous way. After Arthur’s tragic death, Marty continues to take steps to save the firm from failure, at all costs. He admits to Michael that two other firm employees will be handling the memorial service for Arthur, even mentioning that he may have made a wrong choice in his people selection. It is obvious Marty may not know his colleagues well enough to know what they are like, as individuals. In fact, Marty does not demonstrate much trust in most of his colleagues, naming Barry as an asshole and he definitely sees Michael as a disappointment due to his addiction problems. Ultimately he believes a merger is the best thing that could happen to him,…