I ran down to the Four Seasons this morning for a breakfast chat with Michael Clayton director-writer Tony Gilroy, and right away it was relaxation time. I asked him two or three toughies, but we talked about everything and could have gone on and on. It felt so easy and unforced that I figured I’d run 95% of the recording, or about 45 minutes worth. It involves the ordering of food and personal stuff here and there, and the sound skips once or twice.

Michael Clayton director-writer Tony Gilroy in the Four Seasons dining room — Friday, 10.5.07, 10:20 am

Michael Clayton is a tense adult thriller about some unsettled and anxious people, but it’s also the kind of film you’d almost like to crawl inside of and settle down in. (I wanted to taste the Italian bread that Tom Wilkinson carries around in a certain scene.) Like American Gangster, I could have rolled with a three-hour version. Said it last month, saying it again — Gilroy’s film is “always ‘on the case’ and never boring. The material that Gilroy, the director-writer, runs with feels as seasoned and authentic as this kind of thing can be. There’s no shovelling — no ‘oh, come on…give me a fucking break’ moments whatsoever.”

“When critics complain about the dumbing down of movies into franchise popcorn, what we’re really doing is yearning for a terrifically engrossing, tethered-to-the-real-world drama like Michael Clayton.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly.

“This uncommonly intelligent thriller evokes the great films of the 1970s (All the President’s Men, Klute, Three Days of the Condor) that managed to elicit gritty urban realism while maintaining a suave sense of style and moral complexity.” — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post.

Incidentally, Gilroy mentioned that the latest rumor is that the Writers Guild now may be looking to strike on November 1st. Anyone…?