The Lincoln Lawyer (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner16/03/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 120 mins

Solidly enjoyable, pleasingly old fashioned legal thriller that succeeds thanks to a satisfyingly twisty script, a terrific cast and a superb leading performance from Matthew McConaughey.

What's it all about?
Directed by Brad Furman, The Lincoln Lawyer is based on the novel by Michael Connelly and stars Matthew McConaughey as slick Los Angeles defence attorney Mick Haller, who operates out of the back of his Lincoln Continental Sedan (classier than it sounds). Though the majority of his business comes from defending petty criminals (dope-farming Hell's Angels and the like), Mick can't resist the lure of a potentially lucrative high profile case and decides to defend Beverly Hills playboy Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) when he's accused of attempted murder.

However, after scamming his way into the confidence of the family lawyer (Bob Gunton) and landing the case, Haller finds out he may have taken on more than he bargained for and is soon engaged in a deadly battle of wits. Meanwhile, he also realises that he still has feelings for his ex-wife (and the mother of his child), prosecuting attorney Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei).

The Good
McConaughey is perfectly cast as the smooth talking, cocky lawyer who discovers that (who’d have guessed it?) he does have a conscience after all. He also has strong chemistry with Tomei (cue the inevitable McConaughey shirt-off scene) and there's terrific support from a top-notch cast that includes Phillippe (suitably punchable throughout), William H. Macy (as Haller's crazy-haired investigator), Frances Fisher (as Louis' fiercely loyal mother), John Leguizamo (as a bail bondsman who first tips off Haller about the case), Pell James (as Haller's capable assistant), Margarita Levieva (as the victim), Michael Pena (as a previous client of Haller's who ended up in jail) and a scene-stealing turn from Shea Whigham as a jailhouse snitch.

The Great
There's a pleasingly old fashioned vibe to The Lincoln Lawyer that provokes pleasant nostalgia for the 1990s, when you seemingly couldn't go a month without a new John Grisham thriller coming out. The script duly provides all the legal thriller staples, from last-minute surprise witnesses to objections, overrulings and the usual array of shock twists.

Worth seeing?
As popcorn-fuelled legal thrillers go, The Lincoln Lawyer is hugely enjoyable stuff, thanks to a sharply written script, strong characters and terrific performances from a fine ensemble cast. Recommended.

Film Trailer

The Lincoln Lawyer (15)
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Content updated: 16/07/2018 13:37

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