21 jun. 2011

My Review: The Lincoln Lawyer (8/10)

¨I checked the list of people I trust and your name ain`t on it.¨

The Lincoln Lawyer reminded me of one of those Grisham novels, but this thrilling drama was actually based on a Michael Connelly novel (as was Clint Eastwood`s Blood Work). The film has a lot of twists and surprises, but the true success of the movie relies on Matthew McConaughey`s performance. His charisma and spark are what make this film work, and he didn’t even have to take his t-shirt off this time. Relatively unknown director, Brad Furman, has made one of the best thrillers of the year. The script was adapted really well by John Romano as he handles all the twists really well. The court room scenes were actually intense and reminded me of other great lawyer films as Primal Fear. The movie begins pretty slow, it takes a while before it picks up. I had no idea where the film was going to go after it presented one twist and turn after another. I actually appreciated that the most from this movie because I couldn’t predict what was going to happen next. The plot seemed so simple at first, but once we get to the halfway point it’s hard to know what direction the story is going to take. Even at the end so many things came together so every piece of the puzzle fit in nicely. I really enjoyed this film; it`s a smart, intelligent thriller with a strong and reliable performance from Matthew McConaughey.

The title gets its name from the Lincoln Town car that defense lawyer, Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey), operates from. He spends most of his time in the vehicle with his chauffer Earl (Laurence Mason) so he uses it as his personal office. Mick is a smart lawyer who actually learned all the shortcuts in his profession. He is street smart and doesn’t mind if his clients are actually innocent or not. He gets a huge break when a young realtor named Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) asks him to defend his case after being charged for raping and beating a prostitute. Louis claims to be innocent and says the whole thing was a setup since his family is very wealthy. Mick doesn’t care if he`s innocent or not, what he wants are all the facts so that he can defend the case against prosecutor Ted Minton (Josh Lucas). Along with his private investigator, Frank Levin (William H. Macy), Mick discovers that there is more to this case than what Louis is telling them. He links this case to a previous one he had years ago where he just now realizes has sent an innocent man to jail. His name was Jesus Martinez (Michael Peña) and Mick was his defense attorney who made him plead guilty so he would get a reduced sentence instead. The film begins to take several twists and turns from this point on and it picks up in intensity. There is another subplot to this story involving Mick`s relationship with his ex wife, Maggie (Marisa Tomei), a prosecutor, but the story isn’t developed really well as it focuses more on Haller and the case.

I guess the subplot was introduced because you can`t waist the talents of such a great actress as Marisa Tomei. She`s great in the few scenes she has in this film, but her story and relationship with Mick isn’t developed very well. John Leguizamo and Bryan Cranston also have secondary roles, but we`ve seen them do better work in the past. The true star of the film is Matthew McConaughey and he carries the movie with the help of some good performances from Ryan Phillippe and William H. Macy. So yes, there is an interesting cast in The Lincoln Lawyer, but the success is mostly thanks to a great outstanding performance from McConaughey. The movie is intense, has interesting twists, and the court room scenes felt authentic. We can see these characters as real lawyers and the situations are very plausible. That is why I was reminded so much of a Grisham novel because the situations felt real. It`s hard to find interesting and smart films, so I was pleased with this movie because it isn’t only intelligent, it`s also entertaining and has some decent thrills; it`s complete.

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