In a July 2007 HE piece that explained how and why High Noon is a far greater film that Rio Bravo (one of the best essays I’ve ever posted on this site), I included a Jean-Luc Godard quote that argued against my viewpoint, but which I’ve always enjoyed on its own terms:

“The great filmmakers always tie themselves down by complying with the rules of the game,” Godard said. “Take, for example, the films of Howard Hawks, and in particular Rio Bravo. That is a work of extraordinary psychological insight and aesthetic perception, but Hawks has made his film so that the insight can pass unnoticed without disturbing the audience that has come to see a Western like all others. Hawks is the greater because he has succeeded in fitting all he holds most dear into a well-worn subject.”

In 100 words or less, please name any 21st century filmmaker who has made such a film over the last decade or so — a film that works as unpretentious genre entertainment on one level but also offers a meaningful metaphoric journey of whatever kind if you want to dig deeper and look behind the curtain. A film in other words that doesn’t announce or insist upon its deeper, weightier content but which definitely has the “horses” if you do a little probing.

If you ask me Michael Clayton is such a film. Readers are advised that they’re not allowed to mention anything by Peter Jackson in this thread.