The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

“You’re nobody ’til somebody shoots you.”

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei and Ryan Phillippe

With Matthew McConaughey fronting The Lincoln Lawyer, some may choose to watch a different film due to his back catalogue of cheesy, predictable and typical romcom disasters. However, The Lincoln Lawyer is a different kettle of fish altogether. It’s something that I think suits McConaughey very nicely and this change of pace from him was great to watch.

When playboy Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) is accused of the battery and rape of a prostitute, Mickey Haller (McConaughey) is brought in to work as his defence attorney. As he starts to investigate the case further though, he discovers some unsettling information about Roulet that see him having to protect his family from threatening attacks.

The first thing I noticed about the film was the fantastic grit and realness of the shots around Los Angeles. From birds-eye views of downtown LA to shots of the city lights at night, the feel and atmosphere of LA is brought to the forefront of most scenes trying to give you a real sense of the city, which I think it does successfully. It then contrasts this with the claustrophobic and tight spaces within the courtroom where the defendants and accused are being questioned. This contrast makes you feel restricted and confined at times and then relaxed and free at others. The power that the film has over the audience is realised with these great cinematography devices for which credit must be given.

The film moves at a nice pace with enough twists and turns to keep you interested, with a bit of added romance between Mickey and his ex-wife Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei) for those who feel they need some sort of romantic structure for a film to work. We also see appearances from William H. Macy who is fantastic as the investigator and Josh Lucas as the opposing council’s lawyer. It also has a surprising soundtrack which I loved and bought afterwards.

Phillippe was ok as Louis, although there were times when I thought he could have done a better job. In places he seems a bit dry and doesn’t convey as much suspense and enigma with his character as I think he could have, though I haven’t seen him in any other films as of yet so that may have just been his interpretation of his character.

Aside from being a somewhat predicable courtroom drama in places, The Lincoln Lawyer (based on the novel of the same name) is a great suspense crime drama that I really enjoyed. McConaughey exceeded in my expectations and the plot is engaging, so if you can you should check it out.

Star rating:  7.5/10

Directed by Brad Furman.

Running time 120 minutes.

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