Starring Matthew MaConaughey, Marisa Tomei & William H. Macy
Rated R, 118 minutes
Matthew McConaughey shines as a sleazy attorney caught between justice and revenge
After a dismal run of disappointing comedy flops, Matthew McConaughey makes a strong dramatic comeback in “The Lincoln Lawyer” as a slick, sleazy defense attorney who conducts business out of his Town Car.
His character, Mick Haller, has carved a successful, streetwise niche in the Los Angeles legal system representing clients who can afford to pay for his services, who know the evidence is stacked against them---and who may very well be guilty. If Haller can’t get them completely off the hook, he can usually at least make sure they avoid a lifetime in prison...or a death sentence.
But his latest client, a rich, privileged preppy (Ryan Phillippe) charged with a vicious sexual assault, rocks Haller’s world when evidence begins to suggest something creepier, deeper and darker than the case at hand.
Based on a bestselling novel by novelist Michael Connelly, a former Los Angeles Times crime reporter, “The Lincoln Lawyer” crackles with crisp dialogue, a juicy plot punctuated with titillating twists and turns, and a strong cast of familiar faces.
Marisa Tomei plays Haller’s ex-wife, a spitfire prosecuting attorney ideologically opposed to his unsavory line of defense work---putting the “scumbags” she locks away back on the street. Not surprisingly, she’s still carrying a bit of a flame for her bad-boy former hubby, the father of their young daughter.
William H. Macy is Haller’s rumpled investigative partner, charged with digging up the dirty details that will hopefully add up to a get-out-of-jail card for his clients.
Brian Cranston (from TV’s acclaimed “Breaking Bad”) is a crusty police officer with no love for Haller---especially when it appears that the lawyer might be a suspect himself. Michael Peña is a shady con whose story could shed some vital light. The ultra-versatile John Leguizamo is a fast-talking bail bondsman hiding some powerful secrets. Frances Farmer, whose career spans stage, screen and TV, plays the mother of Phillipe’s character, a woman who’ll do anything to keep her son out of prison.
And country star Trace Adkins has a tasty cameo as the burly leader of a biker gang that’s become one of Haller’s repeat customers.
But the show really belongs to McConaughey, who conveys a riveting range of emotion as doubt and danger set in around him and discoveries lead to a decision dangling in the balance between justice and revenge.
This is the kind of movie where too much description takes the well-earned punch out of its surprises. But suffice it to say, if you’re a fan of “Law and Order” or any of TV’s other crime ’n’ courtroom procedurals, you’ll love the movie’s gritty depiction of the murky fishbowl world of justice-for-hire in which McConaughey’s Lincoln lawyer swims.