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Mike Dunn Reviews - The Lincoln Lawyer

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Usually, it only takes one word to put me off watching a film: McConaughy. My dislike for this man borders on Nicolas Cage territory, but his association with the film Frailty won some points with this reviewer, but only because he was barely in it. I mean look at his smug face (right). Don't you just want to punch it?

Sigh. Anyway, weirdly enough, he suits the role he plays in this film and I was surprised by how settled he seemed in the role of professional defence lawyer, showing the pieces of talent lying underneath the stoner/surfer/idiot surface. Please understand how hard that is for me to say.

The Lincoln Lawyer tells the story of Mickey Haller, a Defence Lawyer who operates out of his Lincoln Continental car. He inherits a high-profile case, defending the privileged son of a wealthy family accused of rape, played by Ryan Philippe. As Haller begins investigating the case with the help of his friend played by William H. Macy, he finds that his client might not be as innocent as he once thought.

Sounds intriguing right? The only problem is that the interesting storyline only kicks in halfway through the film. Sixty minutes in, the film becomes exciting. The first half is simply there to set up McConaughy's character and his history with his father, which is only necessary for a single part of the second half. The instant the catalyst hits, the film kick-starts into an intriguing crime thriller which includes some interesting plot points, fantastic performances and a nice game of cat and mouse between McConaughy and Philippe. However, the case gets resolved and the film reaches a point where it would naturally end, but the film continues. For another twenty minutes or so. I was fidgeting in my seat, wanting the film to finish, but they insisted on wrapping up the countless pointless story-lines that ran parallel to the interesting one. It's a shame that an interesting thirty minutes is surrounded by an hour and a half of dross.

Ryan Philippe returns from the mist to deliver a solid performance, at first whiny and innocent, and then delivering quite a powerful character further into the film. However, both William H. Macy and Marisa Tomei are underused and deserve better from just fleeting interactions with McConaughy. To give credit where it's due, McConaughy gives a performance I haven't seen him give before and I came out thinking he was one of the best parts of the film, which has never happened.

The Lincoln Lawyer deserves plaudits for having a good cast deliver convincing performances and it is an solid attempt at being inventive, but it's a shame that it's inconsistency lets it down. Hope to see more serious roles for McConaughy in the future too, if this is how he reacts to them.

Rating - 4/10

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