Review: The Lincoln Lawyer

Posted on March 26, 2011
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“…and justice for all.”

Famous last words of the United States Pledge of Allegiance. The words refer to the court system and the right that every American is indeed, “innocent until proven guilty.”

The story which unfolds in “The Lincoln Lawyer” is complex, and takes many twists and turns. While it may seems like a simple case, of a defense attorney trying to get his client acquitted of serious murder charges, he soon finds out there is much more under the surface of his client then was once believed.

Matthew McConaughey plays a hot shot lawyer named Mick Haller, the guy who is known for getting murderers and other bad guys off on lesser charges.

When I first found out about this film, and after seeing the trailer, I wrote that this role must have been written with McConaughey in mind. It fit him like a glove, and he acted like it.

Cocky, arrogant, brash, we saw a little bit of his character from “Two for the Money” come out, most of all he was believable in the role. Which leads me to ask why is he wasting his talents on stupid and pointless comedies when he can really be a great drama genre actor.

McConaughey does this type of role every handful of films and does an excellent job, then resorts back to the safe romance comedy, see “Fools Gold.”

Regardless his role in “The Lincoln Lawyer” is dead on, I’m friends with several lawyers and a prominent New York defense attorney who can vouch for his accuracy of the part.

The supporting cast here is on one hand well put together but then also misused.

Marisa Tomei plays an attorney as well and McConaughey’s ex wife, with whom them have a daughter. William H. Macy is a investigator who helps Haller with the case. Josh Lucas does a nice job as the prosecutor, while the likes of John Leguizamo, Michael Pena and Bob Gunton were hardly used. Total screen time combined couldn’t have been over 10 minutes.

Bryan Cranston is another big name in the film who was really not needed nor did he serve a great purpose to the story or have significant screen time.

Tomei and Macy were the best supporting cast, along with the driver of the infamous Lincoln Towncar, Laurence Mason, who looks an awful lot like the rapper Ja Rule.

The story of “The Lincoln Lawyer” is fast paced that doesn’t confuse the audience with all the legal rhetoric you may find on some cable TV show.

Mick Haller is an attorney that represents bad guys but eventually the audience see’s what he stands for and you do understand that just because he represents bad people, doesn’t mean he is one too.

Ryan Phillippe is the other star of the film, and plays a young, wealthy hot shot who got himself into a sticky mess. Accused of killing a prostitute, he swears up and down to Haller that he is innocent, like we haven’t heard that before.

Phillippe’s character Louis Roulet is soft spoken and truly believes in the words he is saying, conviction and honesty resonate throughout his testimony to Haller.

It is then that McConaughey must struggle with the idea of protecting his client, fighting for his innocence and doing what he is paid for.

Events from the past, begin to mesh with the present in unfavorable ways to many characters involved in the story, as we are taken on a wild legal trip in that fancy Lincoln.

“The Lincoln Lawyer” is a good drama, that keeps you at attention and does throw you for a couple loops, but don’t expect a “Primal Fear,” although there are some similarities.

Rating: 7.5/10