Episode 2

Michael Clayton (2007)

The second film in our new Existential Thrillers cycle is Tony Gilroy's aughtie classic, Michael Clayton (2007).

On paper, Michael Clayton probably seems like a taut legal thriller played to the middle-aged set, a John Grisham movie with the latest A-Listers. Tony Gilroy chose a much different path by crafting a cerebral thriller infused with corporate nihilism and existential longing. Clooney plays Clayton as a formerly charming bagman who stayed too long at the party. He is stranded and saddled with financial debt, vertiginous self-doubt, and severe moral failing. Clayton is living in what Jean-Paul Sartre would call bad faith. He must face the immediate danger all around him while also breaking free from his calcified moral will. A seemingly small film greatly amplified by Gilroy's impeccable craftsmanship and brilliant performances from Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, and George Clooney.

For our chaser film, we grapple with The Hunt (2012), a Danish film detailing how hearsay can become an avalanche that can bury anyone's life. Created before cancel culture was a thing, The Hunt offers a rather intense refutation of how groups pass judgment.

Special Guests: Tommy Thevenet & Tim Sestito from the great Haven't Scene It: A Movie Podcast