The first thing I noticed about Lincoln Lawyer is that Matthew McConaughey can really hold the screen when given the room to do it. I never thought of him as much of a leading man in a dramatic role, but given the material he’s more than competent.
The second thing I noticed was this wasn’t your typical court room lawyer drama, and that might be because it’s based on a novel by Michael Connelly.
McConaughey plays defence lawyer Mick Haller, a slick street-wise man whose office is the backseat of a Lincoln, hence the title. His mobile office alone speaks volumes of who he is. I’m always in awe of simple yet effective devices that give us more insight in a few seconds than hours of extended exposition.
Haller isn’t a stranger to representing criminals, and he has a few tricks to squeeze as much cash as he can out of them. But when he’s gifted a new young, rich client named Louis Roulet (Ryan Philippe) on charges of rape and assault his spider sense start to tingle. Chasing the cash he accepts the deal but soon discovers it’s not all that it appears to be.
You do have to give credit to the source material at work here. The court drama is a genre covered regularly so to produce a unique plot believable in every way is something to behold. It’s handled beautifully and with care, although the ending was a little too neat.
The film also stars Marisa Tomei as Haller’s ex-wife, playing the moral counter-balance to Haller’s seemingly amoral approach to the law, and the ever great William H. Macy as Haller’s partner.
In contrast to the films out this year, you won’t find a more riveting film devoid of the obligatory explosions, car chases, gun-fights littered in today’s big films. It’s also refreshing not to have to leave your brain at the door.