Synopsis: In the gripping thriller “The Lincoln Lawyer,” Matthew McConaughey stars as Michael “Mick” Haller, a slick, charismatic Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back of his Lincoln Continental sedan. Having spent most of his career defending petty, gutter-variety criminals, Mick unexpectedly lands the case of a lifetime: defending a rich Beverly Hills playboy (Ryan Phillippe) who is accused of attempted murder. However, what initially appears to be a straightforward case with a big money pay-off swiftly develops into a deadly match between two masters of manipulation and a crisis of conscience for Haller.
Release Date: March 18, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is a successful defense attorney for the lower class citizen. He defends murderers, drug dealers, prostitutes, and any other “type” of individual whom the public would prefer to not see back on the street. His ex-wife Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei) works on the other side of the law and the problems in their relationship stem from his dedication to seeing criminals go free. From the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car Mickey conducts business, driving around Los Angeles from the courthouse to the county jail making a name for himself with his unconventional tactics.
Mickey has a chance to prove he can represent the innocent who are wrongly convicted when he takes the case of Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a 32 year old man being accused of assaulting a woman in her home. Louis comes from an affluent Beverly Hills family, has a clean record, and swears he is innocent. But is he? All signs lead to a not guilty verdict but as more evidence is revealed and suspicious actions by Louis take place the strict line between truth and lies becomes blurred. Mickey’s morality will be tested as the case continues and his life, as well as his family’s, is threatened. The case that could make Mickey a power player for the elite becomes the case that will decide whether this lawyer can handle the repercussions of his talent in the courtroom.
The most appealing thing about The Lincoln Lawyer is how it is a movie for adults. It is reminiscent of older films in this genre, most notably The Verdict, Witness For the Prosecution, or Anatomy of a Murder. This is a movie that provokes thoughts on the legal system and the heavy burden placed upon lawyers, whether they represent the innocent or the guilty. It is full of complications that develop layers upon layers to the story, making it hard to ever guess just how the end will play out. The Lincoln Lawyer is a movie that bends the law but never breaks it, and develops a mystery that is greater than finding out whether Louis assaulted the woman or not. The real mystery here is trying to guess how Mickey is going to sustain what is right in the legal system, justice.
Matthew McConaughey plays a damn fine lawyer. You know this if you have ever watched A Time to Kill or Amistad. But this time around he takes the side of the defense attorney, and one who is full of tricks and works every angle to his full advantage. His charming smile helps quite a bit as well to make him the man you want to slap, and kiss at the same time. This conclusion made evident through his ex-wife’s reaction to him whenever he comes in contact. McConaughey shows the necessary range for Mickey and as his character becomes more conflicted, more at risk, altogether unhinged and superbly composed in various stages of the plot he never falters in delivering a performance worthy of the film.
The supporting cast is rounded out with Marisa Tomei (Maggie McPherson)–who is sorely underused I must say–as Mickey’s conscience in the flesh, William H. Macy (Frank Levin), Mickey’s investigator who has some token moments but all in all adds little to the film–again, ignored talent. John Leguizamo (Val Valenzuela) is the bail bondsman associate of Mickey who tries very hard to be more than just John Leguizamo but stumbles, Josh Lucas (Ted Minton) is an uptight prosecutor that looks more scared in a courtroom than comfortable, and lastly, but most importantly, Ryan Phillippe as accused batterer Louis. The entire film rests on the shoulder’s of McConaughey and Phillippe because they are the two main character’s. Unlike McConaughey, Phillippe has very little range or arc provided to his character. The first time we meet him up until the last his character is very much the same person, just a tad more evil as time goes on. I do not think it is Ryan Phillipp’s acting abilities that cause this one-dimensional character to exist but more the way the script treats his character. He is not developed but constantly remains a mystery besides what we learn slowly about his past and his habits. He may be considered a sociopath that no answer or information could make sense of but it would have been beneficial to delve a little deeper into the psyche of this man. Considering the film is more concerned with the dilemma Mickey faces than getting to know the man who has caused it is good reason to overlook the underdevelopment of said character. The same could be said for all of the supporting characters who never get to break free of the constraints put upon them from the script. Even still, the performances play well to a viewer and McConaughey is sure to make you forget that others could have been utilized more.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Brad FurmanTom RosenbergScott Steindorff
- Producer(s): Richard S. WrightJohn Romano
- Screenwriter(s): Matthew McConaughey (Mickey Haller)Marisa Tomei (Maggie McPherson)Josh Lucas (Ted Minton)
- Story: Ryan Phillippe (Louis Roulet)
- Cast: William H. Macy (Frank Levin)John Leguizamo (Val Valenzuela) Jeff McEvoyLukas EttlinCharisse Cardenas
- Cinematographer: Cliff Martinez
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA