THE LINCOLN LAWYER Review

There is almost nothing better than settling in and watching a 90's courtroom drama and what I enjoyed most about "The Lincoln Lawyer" was it carried that same tone as those films. From films like "The Client" to McConaughey's star making role in "A Time To Kill". They are films that engage us on principle, asking what we might do were we put in that situation. What "The Lincoln Lawyer" doesn't try to do though is manipulate us into thinking one thing only to have a twist ending (I'm ignoring the tacked on final scene). It gives us full access to McConaughey's Mickey Haller and all the going-on's that weave through his busy days. It is a gritty film with the slickest of lawyers at its center. It is nothing too special, or original, it certainly isn't breaking any barriers, but it is entertaining and intriguing and it knows where its strengths lie.


It's biggest strength being McConaughey himself. The guy is an interesting actor, starting off in diverse and interesting roles but someone who has slipped into playing the leading man role in nothing but a bunch of half-assed rom coms lately. It seemed his star was beginning to fade, but with this return to a role that requires more than just flashing his very tan bare chest and drawing out sentences in that texas drawl, he delivers a character who is blessed with a very specific skill, someone who turns the nature of his up-bringing into the strongest weapon in his arsenal. As Mickey Haller, a Los Angeles defense attorney with a knack for getting the guilty off scott free, he exudes confidence and among many other nice little quirks this film has, operates out the back of a black lincoln. Haller is put to the test though when a spoiled son of a wealthy divorcee specifically requests his services after being booked for attempted murder among other things. The plot quickly complicates, but the pacing is crisp and the organization of the story makes it very easy for the audience to pick up on everything we need to know in order to made well educated guesses at where this is all going.

Working on his biggest feature to date, Director Brad Furman uses a mix of very cinematic looking camera work to capture the intense courtroom scenes while switching to very loose camera work as we follow Haller in and out of his Lincoln, it correlates well with the persona Haller has created. He is an off the cuff kinda guy, he calls it as he sees it yet genuinely does his best to preserve justice in a corrupt and twisted system where deals are made and the guilty are set free for the right price. The plot quickly complicates, but we never lose track, by feeling as if we are Haller's right hand man we are never thrown off course, instead we become all the more involved with every one of these characters. "The Lincoln Lawyer" boasts a pretty impressive supporting cast as well, from Ryan Phillippe who is great at giving us bad vibes from the get go to the only other southern boy that could go toe to toe with McConaughey in a courtroom, Josh Lucas. William H. Macy stops by for a few scenes adding a bit of comic relief while adding a one of the biggest emotional impacts of the entire film. Michael Pena, John Leguizamo, and Marisa Tomei also show up adding not only to the credibility of the film, but also enhancing how each aspect of the film is another layer of important detail in making each plot strand come together. Oh, and did anyone else not realize that was Trace Adkins until his final scene? I totally missed it.

As a trip back to the days of legal drama's, "The Lincoln Lawyer" succeeds on almost every level. The actors are engaging and make their characters individuals and very interesting while the story is something that is perfectly packaged for a hollywood production. It is a well-made film that knows exactly what its intentions are and what points it needs to hit in order to be well recieved. It certainly knows what it's doing surpasses any expectations one might have for a Matthew McConaughey release in mid-March. It isn't exactly re-inventing the wheel but it is certainly a solid entry in the genre.