“The Lincoln Lawyer” Movie Review

     In “The Lincoln Lawyer”, Matthew McConaughey plays Mick Haller, a reputable criminal defense attorney who apparently saves on overhead by doing business from the back seat of a Lincoln town car.  Actually, he does this for a pretty good reason.  After a number of DUIs left him with no driver’s license, he was forced to hire a driver to get him around. He must have decided at some point he liked the situation because he continues to do business from the back of the car even after he gets his license back.  This point in the story is a nice original start for the film in which we get an average court room style drama  combined with a murky who done it.   The result is a very watchable and entertaining two hours with McConaughey and his supporting cast all game to make sure the film sets itself apart from standard fare.

     After we are introduced to Mick and his routine method of operation, he is soon hired by Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) to defend him on a brutal assault charge.  Roulet is a wealthy and young real estate player whose family is extremely wealthy and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure he is not convicted.  The charge centers around Roulet being picked up by a prostitute at a local club and later meeting her for her services.  As Roulet tells it, he is immediately beaten over the head by an unknown attacker in the prostitute’s apartment, causing him to black out.  The prostitute is of course claiming Roulet beat her and held a knife to her throat causing severe injuries to her face.  Mick hears the story from Roulet and begins to investigate in an effort to exonerate his client.

     The problems arise when Mick’s investigator, Frank (William H. Macy), begins to find out Roulet’s story isn’t adding up.  What occurs next has Mick finding himself caught in a web he is not likely to get out of.  Because this is a murder mystery of sorts, I’ll stop there on the story as I wouldn’t want to spoil the outcome.  The film is based on the best selling Michael Connelly novel of the same name and really packs a character driven punch.  Marisa Tomei plays Maggie who is Mick’s ex-wife and also a prosecutor for the District Attorney’s office.  Her involvement in the film is paramount as there are many times where Mick has no where to turn.  I wish the scenes involving William H. Macy were longer because he, as usual, is excellent.  John Leguizamo, Michael Pena, Trace Adkins, and Bob Gunton all have memorable supporting roles in the film.  Perhaps the only unrealistic aspect of the film is the portrayal of the police detectives.  They come off as hard asses and at times a little bumbling, allowing Mick to walk right into taped off homicide scenes with little or no resistance.

     Director Brad Furman keeps the film running at a torrid pace and the John Ramano dialogue is sharp and quick witted.  The characters that populate this film talk and act just as you would expect them to.  Everything from Mick’s hard nosed lawyer speak to Louis Roulet’s arrogant rich kid all seem real and that is due mostly to the outstanding script.  We are not talking about something that reaches the heights of say “A Few Good Men” when it comes to the very best court room dramas, but The Lincoln Lawyer definitely packs enough verbal action and plot twists to keep a main stream audience entertained.  After some of the horrid films I’ve seen so far in 2011, I can’t say I really can expect anymore than that.  GRADE: B