It doesn’t happen very often that you can witness a wonderful if not ingenious moment in a movie. Yet sometimes you can. And those moments are sadly rare.

Today I watched the movie MICHAEAL CLAYTON with George Clooney playing an attorney who has to deal with a mental breakdown of a fellow attorney and slowly gets involved of a big case of lies and murderer.

Well, you can say many things about that movie, but two things are sure: firstly, this is not the regular attorney-gets-conscience-thriller-movie. And secondly the last ending shot of MICHAEL CLAYTON is pure genius.

At the end of the movie, George Clooney confronts the bad guy/girl with the fact that not only he is still living but also wants a big bribe to keep his mouth shut. The girl reluctantly agrees and then…well, it was a trap and she gets busted. And while the cops are swarming all over the place, Clooney leaves the scene and goes for a taxi.

Now, a normal writer, director or editor might have chosen to show how George Clooney calls for a taxi, enters and then the taxi slowly melts with the traffic by using a nice wide shot of the streets of New York. As late as possible into the scene and as early as possible out of the scene. This is the standard formula of writing, filming and editing scenes most of the artists go for. Well, not these guys.

They decided to go further. They decided to really show George Clooney in the taxi. For minutes we only see him, sitting in the back row. It is unbelievably simple but effective in so many ways. And the movie fades to black right after the moment when you see a subtle smile on his face.

This last shot is not Hollywood. This shot is avant-garde because it is a simple and long close-up of a sitting man. No dialogue, nothing big happens visually. This is a moment you don’t see very often. Pure genius and I love it.

The only thing that haunts me is the fact that during this wonderful moment, the credits start to roll. I don’t know why they decided to for that version but I got the feeling that they either didn’t believe in this shot or the producer wanted to appeal to the mass audience (“This is too arty…”). It is a shame that they didn’t go for it and to wait with the end credits until this pure moment was finished.

But you can’t have everything. And some names on screen are a small price to pay for to witness a Moment, no, the Moment in a long time.

Comments

  • I was entranced by the final 2.5 minutes because I was expecting that at any second the cab was going to crash and send that million dollar face crashing into the partition windows’ edge. Happens every day. They’re so happy with them they are going to damage some crash test dummies on partitions now.

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