Film Review – The Lincoln Lawyer

The Lincoln Lawyer (M)

Directed by: Brad Furman

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei, William H. Macey

Three and a half stars

Review by Julian Wright

Could Matthew McConaughey have been a lawyer in a past life? His role as a compassionate lawyer in the deep south in A Time to Kill shot him to stardom in which his rousing closing statement convinced a jury that vigilante activity is OK if it is to avenge the savage rape and beating of a defenseless little girl. Now he is equally believable as slick and smooth as glass Mick Haller who can count an envelope of cash by giving it a quick shake while sitting in the backseat of his Lincoln.

In between courtroom dramas, McConaughey has dabbled in romantic comedies and action/thrillers, finding only moderate levels of success and praise. While his charm shines through in each film, he looks most at ease in the courtroom. He has so much conviction as a lawyer and looks so comfortable playing one, I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out and admitted he was once a practising lawyer.

Fast-talking Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) spends his career getting rich clients off their charges for the monetary benefits it has for him. And he isn’t afraid to play dirty either. He picks a seemingly simple case in which 32-year-old rich brat Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) is charged for beating a prostitute. The victim says Louis broke into her apartment, beat her up and threatened to rape her at knife-point. He says he was set-up. He insists he is innocent and his story might just check out.

But the more clues Mick uncovers – or his private investigator Frank Levin (William H. Macey) uncovers – the less innocent Louis appears. Mick finds himself caught up in dangerous cat and mouse mind games with his client and is faced with several ethical dilemmas. Weaved into these tense times is the sometimes-fine-sometimes-strained relationship he has with his ex Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei), whom he shares a daughter with.

The not very surprising “twist” that has Mick’s family’s safety threatened is one of the not so inspired moments in this familiar but nonetheless gripping thriller. The first quarter that sets up the plot threatens to lead its audience to believe this will be fairly standard affair that could easily be played out within a one hour time slot on primetime television. These early moments prove film makers have to work just a little bit harder to try something a bit different after we have spent hours each week watching the same police procedurals with a string of CSIs and Law and Orders.

But it improves as it goes along. Particular attention is given to fleshing out Mick’s background and state of mind which adds to the proceedings, giving us a rounded character to root for. Director Brad Furman keeps the tension nicely consistent in the court room sequences. It goes on a bit towards the end forcing us to sit through about four endings, but the ride there is the main thing and it is a fun ride.

3 Responses to “Film Review – The Lincoln Lawyer”

  1. rae wright Says:

    I really like the look! Black background is brilliant; and reviews are informative without giving too much away.
    Congrats on getting this started (at last) I wish you goodluck & success…you deserve it!

  2. Mate im loving the site. Rotten Tomatoes can go get stuffed im coming here 4 my movie reviews from now on 😀

  3. While it sticks to the courtroom thriller formula, this is an entertaining ride thanks to a terrific screenplay and Matthew McConaughey’s magnetic lead performance. It’s the perfect time killer, because you won’t ever feel bored. Good review, check out mine when you can!

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