Mar. 23, 2011 - Issue #805 : Urban Transportation
The Lincoln LawyerA delicious but not too-smooth take on LA noir, The Lincoln Lawyer quenches the thirst for a spring surprise on the silver screen. Our liquor-downing private dick is Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey), a lawyer who usually defends dicks and worse. His latest is rich playboy Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), accused of raping and beating a prostitute. But Haller soon realizes the noose is tightening around him instead.
Noir conventions are tweaked (Haller's office is his Lincoln town car; the femme fatale gets a disturbing backstory), while the snappy patter of the genre (Haller and his buddy, musing on a suicidal jump: "What do you think the last thing to go through your mind would be?" "Your asshole.") gets boosted by some deft supporting turns (from William H Macy, Bryan Cranston and others). The hard edges of Haller's clientele aren't softened and the one obvious flaw—Haller's ex-flame (Marisa Tomei) isn't volatile enough—is none too glaring.
This adaptation of Michael Connelly's novel is like an excellent law/crime TV show episode, with an added last-case urgency. There's no sense of the calculated or contrived. Tight framing shots keep us close to the ratcheting action, and there are just the right bits of grit, and the right pace to the twists, to make The Lincoln Lawyer a steadily seat-gripping cinematic cruise.
Opens Now playing
Directed by: Brad Furman
Written by: Michael Connelly, John Romano
Featuring: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe
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