The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) starring Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña directed by Brad Furman Movie Review

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Matthew McConaughey in The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

A Time to Thrill

I like movies like "The Lincoln Lawyer" as whilst it is not great it is the complete package. It has a storyline and subplots which right from the word go draw you in and then takes you on a journey as the plot thickens so you can't predict how it is going to end up. It also has style, characters and entertaining dialogue but never going over the top to the point where it dominates the movie in a high end or pretentious manner. And what that means is that "The Lincoln Lawyer" ends up with the right vibe which keeps you entertained and engaged.

Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey - Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) is a slick defence lawyer who operates from the back of his chauffeur driven Lincoln and has lots of connections and a lack of conscience when it comes to the people he defends even if it means bending some rules to get a criminal off. So he is a bit surprised when rich white kid Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe - The Bang Bang Club) asks for him specifically when he is arrested for battering a woman especially as his family's money could buy him any top lawyer he desired. It is a case which brings him once again into contact with his ex-wife Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei - Cyrus) but also puzzles him especially as evidence keeps on showing up which makes him question Roulet's innocence, question why he has been chosen and question why this case seems to be connected to a previous client of his who is serving time in San Quentin.

Ryan Phillippe in The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

Where do I start with "The Lincoln Lawyer" well it all starts with Matthew McConaughey who not only keeps his shirt on for the majority of the movie but reminds us that he can really act. And it is McConaughey who brings Mick Haller to life, making him a slick operator, a charmer and the sort of man who is always cutting deals and calling in favours from his numerous connections. But McConaughey makes him more than slick, he gives him different shades and that comes through the sub plots such as his relationship with his ex-wife and mother of his daughter.

But McConaughey is not the single reason why "The Lincoln Lawyer" works as we also get a storyline which not only gives us entertaining characters but a plot line which is always evolving. It means that not only are we entertained by the characters right off the bat but then as the story unravels it keeps us not only interested but never sure how it is going to end. When Mick discovers false police evidence it turns things around but then when he finds a connection to a former client serving time it turns things around again and it does this again and again but never to the point that it is toying with us just for the sake of it.

Now any movie which keeps switching things around can end up overly contrived but "The Lincoln lawyer" never once feels like this and part of the reason why is that it is slick. Director Brad Furman keeps things ticking over at a perfect lick so that we have time between the switch ups but not too much time for us to over think things not that there is opportunity because immediately after a switch up we have drama which evolves from the twist. And along with the slick we have style, lots of style with a variety of shots from hand held shots which take us up close to over city sweeps but not once does the style dominate the movie; it just makes it feel complete.

And on the subject of complete there is the supporting cast which includes Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, Ryan Phillippe and Michael Peña. But whilst these are good actors they have good characters to play, characters who have dialogue which is meaningful but never pretentious which allows them to that magic combination of interesting and entertaining.

What this all boils down to is that "The Lincoln Lawyer" isn't a great movie but it is the complete package and to me that means it is well worth a watch.