Saturday 9 July 2011

Today's Review: The Lincoln Lawyer

I only really know Matthew McConaughey from the romantic comedies he's been in lately, and the fact that women seem to swoon at the thought of him. So I guess I was a little apprehensive when I picked up a serious looking movie that I'd never heard of before that starred him.

The Lincoln Lawyer follows Mickey Haller, a defence attorney who drives around town with all his paperwork in the back of a Lincoln Town Car. Why? I'm not quite sure. He has his own apartment, I guess he just likes having an office that moves. Haller's driver, an old client of his, is the owner of the car, and he's driving Haller around to pay off some legal fees. So I guess that ties up that loose end.

Anyway, Haller is going about his business, defending people who most likely did the crime anyway, but Haller seems to do a good job of getting them off. One day a big case falls into his lap. Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillipe), the son of a real estate hotshot, is charged with beating up a prostitute, and Haller wastes no time in getting his legal fees and working on his case.

Trouble is, not everything is at it seems. This case starts to worry Haller, as there is a striking similarity between it and one that he dealt with in the past, where his client was sentenced to life in prison despite protesting his innocence. As Haller uncovers more information he's pulled into a dangerous game which forces him to re-evaluate his methods in order to obtain justice.

McConaughey does a fantastic job as Haller. He's smooth talking but manages to maintain a serious persona when things start getting out of hand. The way that McConaughey and Phillipe play off against each other is great too, and there are some quite menacing scenes featuring both when the story really gets going.

The story does take a little while to get going though. We start by following Haller around as he goes about his daily business, making shortcuts by being mostly charming, extorting more money than he should out of clients, everything seems hunky dory. But once the film takes on a darker and more serious tone, it made me wish there was more of this throughout the rest of the movie. Still, it was good to see the two sides to Haller's character, and McConaughey plays both really well. The light hearted opening scenes of the film also help pull the audience in when the plot thickens, highlighting the danger that Haller puts himself in by accepting the case.

I enjoyed The Lincoln Lawyer a lot more than I thought I would. I expected to get sick of McConaughey, and for the plot to not grab me in the slightest. But what I got was a taut thriller that managed to keep my attention throughout. It's a great story, although it can be a little slow in places, and everyone in the cast is great. I was nicely surprised, maybe you will be too. Hell, even the guy who wrote the book said they did a great job with the movie.

My rating: 4/5

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