Just when I thought I never wanted to see another legal drama or Matthew McConaughey on-screen ever again, along comes The Lincoln Lawyer.
Mickey Haller (McConaughey) is a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back of his late 80’s model Lincoln sedan. He’s spent most of his career defending garden-variety criminals, until he lands the case of his career: defending Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a Beverly Hills playboy accused of rape and attempted murder.
The seemingly straightforward case suddenly develops into a deadly game of survival for Haller.
For every legal action-drama cliché that this movie throws out, there is an equally thrilling twist or character tweak that didn’t expect. This movie is smart, exciting and has a strong supporting cast including Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy and John Leguzamo. Each character gets the chance to shine, nobody is overpowering and all are flawed and enjoyable.
The Lincoln Lawyer is not perfect. Like many movies that dabble with the law, grandiose ideas are reduced down to a simple, one-sentence of dialogue. Some characters are unnecessary and arrive at extremely convenient points in the plot. I found it forgivable.
Honestly, I almost forgot that McConaughey could act. He’s been in so many romantic comedies and other lame examples of movies that I had written him off as a hack. He really performs well in dramas. I know actors like to stretch out of their comfort zone, but sticking to the things you are really good can also be a challenge too. Not that he’d take my advice, but I think Matthew should.