Reviews

The Lincoln Lawyer

4

Matt McConaughey goes back to court. No objections...

The Lincoln Lawyer review

Matthew McConaughey should stick to playing lawyers. Fifteen years ago, he sizzled in John Grisham adaptation A Time To Kill.

He’s on similar form in this absorbing adaptation of Michael Connelly’s page-turner, playing Mick Haller, an amoral LA defence lawyer who runs his business from the back of a Lincoln town car (complete with ‘NTGUILTY’ licence plates).

Representing all sorts of “scum”, not least a posse of drug dealing Hells Angels, he’s got street smarts in spades.  

Haller’s latest case is different, a high-end money-spinner involving Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe, perfectly cast), the only son of a wealthy Beverly Hills realtor (Frances Fisher), accused by a prostitute of attempted murder.

Pleading doe-eyed innocence, Roulet claims he’s been set up. It’s a theory that doesn’t wash with Haller’s own private investigator (William H Macy), while Haller himself is left to consider words from his own legendary lawyer father (who, in a nice blend of fiction and reality, once repped gangster Mickey Cohen): “There’s no client as scary as an innocent man.”

Looking increasingly haggard as the trial unfurls, as Haller gradually comes to the realisation that this is no open-and-shut case, McConaughey gives his best performance in years. It may not quite be on the level of Paul Newman’s ambulance chaser in The Verdict but it’s subtle, assured work.

Just because Haller operates by his own code of ethics, it doesn’t make him a total deadbeat – witness his affection for his daughter and ex-wife (Tomei) – and McConaughey embodies these contradictions perfectly.

The support cast is also universally fine, from Macy’s shaggy-looking P.I. to Josh Lucas’ beleaguered State attorney. Credit to director Brad Furman for assembling a group of actors, not stars, who are willing to service the story, rather than their own egos.

There are other pleasures too, from the aptly nervy camerawork to the urban soundtrack (Gang Starr, Erik B & Rakim).

Yes, The Lincoln Lawyer is hardly groundbreaking. But what it does do, it does very well.

Verdict:

Engrossing. A classy cast juice up this compelling courtroom saga, with Matthew McConaughey – so long starved of a decent lead – on fire. 

Film Details

User Reviews

    • Legacy3D

      Mar 28th 2011, 6:50

      4

      Based on the novel of the same name by Michael Connelly. Matthew McConaughey plays Mickey Haller the lawyer of the title. Haller is a Los Angeles lawyer who for the most part represents clients who have committed serious crimes. But because of being good at his job he can lesser there sentence or let them walk free. After getting arrested for assaulting and raping a woman he met at a club Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) asks haller to be his lawyer in his case. He explains to Haller that he was framed and was set up by the women, but as Haller looks further into the case things don’t add up, in addition to this he still has to deal with his other clients and reform a relationship with his ex-wife Maggie McPherson (Marissa Tomei). In the beginning of the movie you think this is just another lawyer movie with a predictable story. But after a while you become really interested as to where the story’s going next and what the end result will be. Matthew McConaughey who seems to do the same bad acting in most of his movies. Is surprisingly very good in this as you can truly believe him as Mickey Haller, also the supporting cast including phillippe as a rich playboy is great in his role. Overall The Lincoln Lawyer grips you from start to finish and keeps you thinking the entire time.

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