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The Lincoln Lawyer - Movie Review by CinemaScavarda

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It's terrific to watch Matthew McConaughey in a movie where he isn't immature, outrageously cocky, silly, trying hard for laughs or all of the above. Actually, he's quite terrific in The Lincoln Lawyer as Mick Haller, street smart criminal defense attorney, who cruises around in the back seat of an older model Lincoln. Haller is self-assured and not exactly perfectly ethical and McConaughey imbues him with a nice touch of seriousness and caring. It's probably the most effective he's been on screen since way back to Lone Star.

The Lincoln Lawyer is the story of Louis Roulet (Ryan Philippe) who is accused of severely beating up a prostitute. Roulet is a wealthy SoCal 'kid' who drives a Maserati and a Range Rover and sells real estate as part of his mother's business. Roulet engages Haller as his defense attorney. Telling much more would give away too much of the plot's intrigue. Suffice it to say, as Haller instantly suspects, there is a good reason Roulet engages an attorney who home offices in the back seat of a Lincoln town car instead of a big time Beverly Hills defense attorney. The yarn unravels bit by bit as we learn the answer to this question.

There really is nothing at all new in the accused criminal/courtroom drama happening in this movie. The courtroom scenes contain at least two really silly parts that anyone who has watched Law and Order would know would not happen, a biker gang is always handy to have on speed dial and the ex-wife as an assistant district attorney is just so convenient for Haller. (And the ex-wife post-coital outburst at Haller for being a criminal defense attorney comes completely out of nowhere.). Yet, overall the film is executed very well, contains great, well-delivered dialogue and keeps you entertained.

Director Brad Furman has made a good looking, stylish film dipped in a nice urban LA feel. Except for a sex scene with a truly godawful music overlay and no heat whatsoever, every scene is engaging. Furman chose to tone down McConaughey's movie star good looks, a wise choice for this role.

The supporting cast raises the film's overall quality and effectiveness too. Philippe is perfectly shifty as Roulet. A particular standout is William H. Macy as Franklin, Haller's investigator. Macy sports long, unruly hair, an impressive mustache, the perfect best friend vibe and believable street cred. Also, showing up are Marisa Tomei (the aforementioned district attorney ex-wife), Josh Lucas (the prosecuting counsel), Bryan Cranston (in a too small role as a cop investigating a murder) and Frances Fisher (Roulet's mother).

Whether you will like this film completely depends on whether you like the genre. This is not high art but if you like the criminal element film with a smart guy thinking either on his feet or in the back seat of his car, The Lincoln Lawyer will please you.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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