Rating: 4 stars out of 5
The Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, William H. Macy
The Story:The Lincoln Lawyer is the big screen adaptation of the popular novel by mystery writer Michael Connelly, in which a lawyer conducts his business from the back of his beat-up Lincoln Continental car representing some of LA’s lowlifes and criminals. McConaughey's character Mickey Haller decides to take on a high-profile murder case where a rich playboy and party animal Louis Roulet, played by Ryan Phillipe is possibly wrongfully accused of murder. But things seem to take a deadly turn for Haller as the case develops.
The Buzz: The Lincoln Lawyer is director Brad Furman’s second feature film. According to the book’s author, Michael Connelly, The Lincoln Lawyer was inspired by a chance conversation he had at Dodger Stadium with a lawyer who did just that—working from the backseat of his car, cruising from courthouse to courthouse, chauffeured by a client working off his tab. While most screenwriters inevitably imposed their sensibilities on source material for the big screen, Connelly said that the movie’s writer John Romano “gets it” and the movie’s true to the spirit of the book after seeing it for the first time.
inSing says: The Lincoln Lawyer’s smart, it’s got a clever and interesting plot and it’s often really funny. Best of all, it eschews the usual drab and drawn out lawyer-crime dramas, and instead injects an explosively hip and engaging side to the criminal justice system. Director Furman weaves a suspenseful and provocative piece of crime storytelling—a tale of law and redemption juxtaposed against the utopian/dystopian backdrop of Los Angeles. The story takes the legal concept of attorney-client privilege and imagines it as a way for a serial killer to not only hide his crimes but pin them on someone else. Scene by scene, the movie bubbles away, building momentum—and the way Furman takes you around the twists and turns of legal loopholes keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Matthew McConaughey appears to have redeemed himself in this movie, delivering a rock-solid performance and top-notch character work as the smooth-talking, wise-cracking and street smart Haller—a perfect role for the actor who said that he almost became a lawyer himself. After the first few scenes of the movie, you probably would have forgiven him for chick flicks How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Failure to Launch.
McConaughey is joined by an incredible cast of supporting actors—most notably Marisa Tomei who plays his ex-wife and prosecutor and William H. Macy who brilliantly played Haller’s partner-in-crime, friend and investigator.
Smooth and solidly made, there’s nothing like good storytelling and strong character work to get you all revved up in your seats. The Lincoln Lawyer is a rich, vibrant movie, one that you can slip inside of and live within for two hours. What it isn’t, is a new take on anything, it’s just a darn legal story told darn well.