The Lincoln Lawyer (7/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 119 minutes.
OK for children.
Matthew McConaughey finally
gets a chance to act in an entertaining thriller and contribute more
than a good smile and bare chest. Playing Mick Haller, a criminal
defense attorney who works out of the back of his Lincoln Continental,
he gets a chance to defend someone other than the guttersnipe criminals
he’s had as clients to date. Louis Roulet, (Ryan Phillippe) is a rich
man’s son accused of brutally killing a prostitute. Mick soon finds that
there’s more to meet the eye here, and is placed in the position of
defending a man who is manipulating him.
The film has a terrific cast.
In addition to the two principals, McConaughey and Phillippe, it
includes Oscar®-winner Marisa Tomei and Oscar®-nominee William H. Macy
(who plays a scruffy, long-haired P.I.), although both have minor roles
which minimizes and wastes their exceptional talents.
There are also some fine
supporting performances. One that stands out is Bryan Cranston, who is a
hard-boiled homicide detective who doesn’t like Mick and seems out to
get him. Josh Lucas plays Mick’s legal opponent, prosecutor Ted Minton.
Lucas was dealt a bad hand here because his character could have been
much more aggressive. That seems to be more a fault of the script (John
Romano) and the direction (Brad Furman) than Lucas. In addition, the
film shows a judge (Reggie Baker) who is scrupulously fair. Anybody who
has had the misfortune to have to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court
will find this portrayal fantasy.
Most of Connelly’s books are
set in Los Angeles, which figures because before becoming a world-famous
novelist, he was a criminal beat writer for a local newspaper. As a
result there are scenes of the various aspects of the city, from the
Trump Golf Course in Palos Verdes, with its spectacular panoramic views
of the Pacific Ocean, to gritty Inglewood. McConaughey says, “This is
not the sunny, ritzy L.A. that we’re showing. It’s hot, humid, dusty,
dirty, and sometimes trashy.”
Although Connelly was
apparently satisfied with the script, even though this is a fine,
entertaining movie, I didn’t think it was a good as the book.
March 17, 2011