Title: The Lincoln Lawyer
Director: Brad Furman
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Marissa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, John Leguziamo
Review Written by: Karen Benardello
While novels often captivate readers for allowing them to use their imaginations to picture how a story unfolds, their movie adaptations often pale in comparison. Readers are often disappointed by the director and screenwriters’ visions of how the plot-line should play out, and what the characters and settings look like. But one adaptation that breaks free from that stereotype is director Brad Furman’s screen version of author Michael Connelly’s crime novel The Lincoln Lawyer. The legal drama exceeds expectations by not only focusing on the book’s important theme of trusting your instinct and doing what’s right, but also featuring a surprisingly convincing Matthew McConaughey in the title role.
‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ follows Los Angeles defense attorney Mickey Haller (played by McConaughey) as he conducts most of his business out of the backseat of his Lincoln sedan. After building his career on pleading his guilty clients on open-and-shut cases, Mickey gets the case that could make his career. Bail bondsman Val Valenzuela (portrayed by John Leguziamo) refers him to the case of Beverly Hills playboy and real estate agent Louis Roulet (played by Ryan Phillippe), who was arrested for brutalizing and raping a prostitute.
While Mickey believes Louis’ proclamation of innocence when they first meet, his stance quickly changes. As Mickey has investigator Frank Levin (portrayed by William H. Macy) analyze the evidence in the case, he begins to struggle over whether or not he should believe his client. Adding to his suspicions is his prosecutor ex-wife Maggie (played by Marissa Tomei), who questions how he could defend criminals while she works to sentence them.
While ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ is McConaughey’s first crime legal thriller since 1996’s ‘A Time to Kill,’ and he has become known for his romantic comedies and action movies over the past 15 years, he still gives an excellent performance as Mickey. In the beginning of ‘The Lincoln Lawyer,’ McConaughey portrays Mickey as though he only cares about how many plea bargains and not guilty verdicts he can obtain to further advance his career. Even with other high-profile stars in the movie, including Tomei and Macy, McConaughey stands out as he convincingly gives Mickey a completely new outlook on life.
As ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ progresses, viewers will surely feel as though Mickey wants to stop persuading his clients to accept plea offers just because there isn’t enough evidence in the case. McConaughey seems to truly understand Mickey’s increased desire to protect the innocent, and do what’s best for his clients, instead of himself. ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ was the perfect platform for McConaughey to prove to the world that he can truly relate to his character on a philosophical level, instead of just spending the entire movie trying to charm the lead female character.
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