When it comes to motion pictures, there are essentially two kinds of thrillers: visceral thrillers, which rely on action to generate tension and excitement, and intellectual thrillers, which burn more slowly but are often more satisfying in the end. Michael Clayton, the directorial debut of screenwriter Tony Gilroy, belongs in the latter category. The movie unfolds at its own pace and makes few concessions to impatient viewers or those who don't pay attention. The narrative is dense and presented in a manner that may cause initial confusion (a wrap-around framing device is used).
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