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Most Valuable Performances: George Clooney

The first thing that comes to mind when Michael Clayton opens is that Mr. Clayton is a broken man. He is unkempt, his suit is a little baggy and the lack of sleep from stress is definitely taking its toll. George Clooney is not playing Danny Ocean here, or even Jack Foley, he is The Janitor.

This was a film seemingly out of Clooney's comfort zone and what made Tony Gilroy's thriller so mesmerizing is the beaten look in Clayton's eyes as he trudges through the cut-throat world of business law that seems so banal on the surface. He unknowingly brought about the death of a trusted friend and in the end has less than he started with.

A man, who after his car explodes, throws his belongings into the flames and runs into the forest. A Rousseau-ian character if there ever was one. As is the story of George Clooney's career, he lost to a performance that could not go unrewarded against Daniel Day-Lewis's Daniel Plainview. Though he went home without the gold man that evening he could hold his head high knowing he delivered the finest performance of his career.

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