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The Lincoln Lawyer

A movie directed by Brad Furman

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Just Whose Side Are You Really On?

  • Mar 27, 2011
I went to “The Lincoln Lawyer” with extra low expectations. I have seen so many legal thrillers in my day that I was almost certain that this would not be anything different. The film was adapted from the novel by Michael Connelly, and I have to admit I haven’t read the book before I saw this film. The film starts off strongly, with some dynamic performances from its cast it seemed poised to go the whole nine yards. Unfortunately, the script and direction manages to over-stretch, linger far too much and eventually even with its good intentions, it begins to cave in on itself.

Michael Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is a very capable defense lawyer who has a huge reputation of getting his client off the hook, has dealings from the back seat of his car with some shady characters and this reputation may have caused him his marriage to his ex-wife (Marisa Tomei). When an extremely wealthy young man named Louis Rolet (Ryan Phillippe) is accused of trying to kill a prostitute, Haller is assigned the case as he goes to investigate with his associates (that includes William H. Macy). Haller may have bitten off more than he bargained for; as for the more he digs, the more questions he uncovers regarding his mysterious client which may ultimately cause him to question his own morale code. His quest for the truth may put him at risk as well as his family.

                             Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller and Ryan Phillippe as Louis Roulet in "The Lincoln Lawyer."

                            Bob Gunton as Cecil Dobbs, Ryan Phillippe as Louis Roulet, Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller and William H. Macy as Frank Levin in ``The Lincoln Lawyer.''

                            John Leguizamo as Val Valenzuela and Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller in "The Lincoln Lawyer."

Director Furman’s film goes through the usual formulas of a legal adventure. He brings the viewer into the world Haller moves around in, he displays his personality, his dealings and his potential ego as the viewer gets a look on the way he interacts with his clients and his family. The script by John Romano goes off to a great start, you see the legal world Haller deals with and we see his skill in making the system work in his favor, how he moves his resources and interacts with his clients. It made the lead character quite credible in my eyes, and aided by McConaughey’s charisma, it is easy to buy into the Haller persona. He has an ego, he is a damn good lawyer to be sure, and many would doubt as to which team he’s really playing.

Then the story takes Haller into something unfamiliar to him; as he gets involved with Rolet, he begins to question his own dealings. The film doesn’t simply go forth with the “is he guilty or not” kind of morality play, rather it becomes a cat and mouse game between Haller and Rolet. They try to stay one step ahead of each other, as the film goes forth with a lot of psychological mind games. Not sure, this brings the script into shaky ground, I mean the more complex the plot gets, the more I see plot holes all over the place. Furman tries to generate tension and suspense, but it feels real uneven. It becomes one formula after another, as the film introduces potential obstructions and cops with a dislike of Haller (Bryan Cranston and Michael Pare), past clients (Michael Pena) that haunt our lead, murder weapons, a prosecutor (Josh Lucas) and others. There were so many elements crammed in that soon, I know the director would begin to lose focus. This is usually the common issues with movies that adapt a book, there is just so many issues to cover and the more you try to incorporate, the more risks you have to take. There is a level of ambition here, but I didn’t think it managed to keep up its energy for too long.

                         Michael Pena as Jesus Martinez and Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller in "The Lincoln Lawyer."

                         Marisa Tomei as Maggie McPherson and Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller in ``The Lincoln Lawyer.''

                        Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller in ``The Lincoln Lawyer.''

To manage the screenplay and editing, Furman leans on the charisma of the lead as he uses his wit and charm to get to the truth. McConaughey makes for a very charismatic lawyer and I think he did fit the role. The cast is pretty good and the acting was pretty solid. Tomei and Macy were welcome additions to the cast; they managed to help the film’s pacing along, as we get to know our hero a little more intimately. The court scenes were decent for the most part, albeit I thought those scenes should’ve been the highlights of the film. I had this nagging thought in my brain that the film went in too much without the proper blueprints in hand.

I guess the issues I’ve had with “The Lincoln Lawyer” comes from the fact that it seemed to have multiple potential endings, some devices were too convenient and it has a lot of plot holes that I am sure only readers of the book could answer. The film could’ve ended much more smoothly as Haller is seen in an area of suspicious dealings and tremulous moral fiber, but the way Furman goes further just almost ruins the pace and the film’s already unsteady sense of logic. I felt that the film had gotten a little greedy and overzealous. The closure that came didn’t satisfy and I felt that it should’ve had a stronger climax. It wasn’t so much as it was lacking, but you may say it was a little too much and overcooked.

RENTAL [3- Out of 5 Stars]

                                     Poster art for "The Lincoln Lawyer."

Just Whose Side Are You Really On?

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April 03, 2011
Too intricate for your taste, eh? Haven't seen this one but I like law films (not firms!). I'd let you know what I think after I watched it ;-)
April 03, 2011
it's more like "wannabe intricate" LOL! Let me know what you think...
March 28, 2011
McConaughey actually acts here? Wow, I haven't seen him do that in about ten years. Maybe I'll give this a try once it hits DVD.
March 28, 2011
yep, surprisingly. He did a pretty decent job. Seen A TIME TO KILL?
March 28, 2011
I honestly don't recall. I've seen most of the early films based on John Grisham's books and they all sort of blend together. I do recall thinking Susan Sarandon was the sexiest lawyer ever in "The Client".
March 28, 2011
McConaughey also played a lawyer in that film, defending Samuel L. Jackson's character. I think this role fit his personality which is why he pulled it off. Susan Sarandon is one of the sexiest women....period.
March 28, 2011
March 28, 2011
I thought he did a good job in "Fool's Gold;" I think that was what it was called. It was a funny romantic comedy.
March 29, 2011
anyone seen SAHARA around here? ;P
March 28, 2011
Great review WP, I think I will wait fro the rental but I will see this.
March 28, 2011
This wasn't bad, it was actually pretty strong until it started to cover the aspects of the book in a hurry.
March 28, 2011
I won this book from an online contest. I'm looking forward to reading it before watching the film. Excellent review, William. :)
March 28, 2011
sweet! After I finish NEVER LET ME GO (the book) which I just ordered, I will see if I can read this one. Thanks, Adri!
March 28, 2011
Nice. "Never Let Me Go" is supposed to be really good. :) Welcome, William!
March 28, 2011
I do love me some Matthew McConaughey but, yeah I think this one will need to wait to rest in my Netflix queue :)
March 28, 2011
I was going to see LIMITLESS but the show scheduled was on XD (comparable to IMAX they say, but I don't think so) and it costs $ 15/ticket to get in. (Sorry, I don't pay matinee tickets for more than $ 9) that would mean $ 30 for 2, plus snacks. Century theaters can be silly. I am cheap!! LOL!
March 28, 2011
I totally want to see Limitless....yeah we usually do matinees on Tuesdays, when Nando's off work- cheap and no crowds! I wouldn't mind paying that much for IMAX but, yeah not XD. Don't they have $5 theatres in SF?
March 28, 2011
In SF, any show before noon is $ 6. After which any show until 5-6 pm is $ 8.00. I love movies but I only pay that much if I am totally certain that it'll be worth it.
March 28, 2011
Yep! Me too :) And I'm not usually certain it's worth it most of the time lol
More The Lincoln Lawyer reviews
review by . March 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I viewed "The Lincoln Lawyer" last weekend and was most pleased with the film.   The acting was well done and the lead roles played their parts well.  I felt that the movie kept close to the novel and there wasn't any major difference.  The ending of the movie was somewhat different than the novel. In the movie there is action against one of the antagonists that didn't happen in the novel.  Most of the people in the theater seemed generally …
review by . August 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Haller essence
Matthew McConaughey proves he's not just a pretty face in The Lincoln Lawyer. It's difficult to translate books to the silver screen, and this is no exception. Based upon the novel by John Connelly, the movie lacks the heart that enlivened the written version. It does do justice, however, to the character of Mickey Haller, a smart, fast-talking defense attorney who knows all the tricks and doesn't hesitate to play them. Kind of a conman with a conscience, if you can picture that. I wondered …
review by . July 24, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****     "The Lincoln Lawyer" is a competent and well-made court-room crime drama that deserves all the respect it can get, and all the acclaim that it deserves. It might get an Oscar nomination in the Best Picture category when the Award Season returns yet again, as films such as this one usually do. It has all the qualities of an Oscar nominee; but not all of a winner. Whether the film deserves that nomination (which it will PROBABLY get) is not of my concern. What …
review by . March 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
In the Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey Haller is asked to defend wealthy Louis Roulet against the charge of aggrivated assault and attempted rape of Reggie Campo. Campo was a woman who Louis met in a bar.      The acting was well done with all of the major actors doing there part well. There was less action with Mickey's former wife, Maggie who is played by Marissa Tomai? This went well but it's hard to see this actor in a courtroom drama and not think of "My Cousin Vinnie.'   …
review by . May 02, 2011
spoilers         Matthew McConaughey. I remember when he was in A Time To Kill (which I've only seen bits and pieces of) and everyone thought he was going to be the next Gregory Peck. Several godawful romantic comedies later, we all thought we were mistaken. Then, The Lincoln Lawyer comes along, and he surprises us yet again with a stellar performance in the lead role. The Lincoln Lawyer is not without its problems, but it is still an exciting and compelling legal …
review by . March 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         The Lincoln Lawyer, based on the novel by Michael Connelly, weaves a gripping web of mystery and suspense, although what really impressed me was the title character, quite possibly the most interesting and unorthodox criminal defense attorney in cinema history. His name is Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey), and he does business from the backseat of his Lincoln sedan. This was initially done out of necessity – some months prior he had his …
review by . March 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   The 'Lincoln Lawyer', a  gripping legal thriller,   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-variey criminals, Mick unexpectedly lands the case of a lifetime:  defending a rich Beverly Hills playboy Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) who …
review by . May 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Directed by Brad Furman, The Lincoln Lawyer is a surprisingly good courthouse drama supported by a strong cast and a decent story. It depicts the process of a charismatic lawyer Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey) who gets inside a case which doesn't revolve only around his defender. He's an iconic lawyer in Los Angeles dealing with various criminals and who holds connection within the city's underworld. He finds himself in a big trouble once he takes charge in defending …
review by . March 19, 2011
Get ready to be a witness to 119 minutes of a nail biting crime case saddled by Matthew McConaughey (The Ghost of Girlfriends Past, Surfer Dude), out of the backseat of a - Lincoln Continental?   McConaughey stars in The Lincoln Lawyer; as a smooth, charismatic defense attorney Michael “Mick” Haller.  He’s also an attorney who runs his business out of his black Lincoln Continental sedan, and runs it effectively.   While Mick has spent most of his career …
Quick Tip by . March 26, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Looking for a little more information on THE LINCOLN LAWYER, check out my interview with the film's star, Matthew McConaughey:      http://blacksheepreviews.blogspot.com/2011/0...interviews-matthew.html
About the reviewer
William ()
Ranked #1
Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
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