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March 22, 2011 > Movie Review: The Lincoln Lawyer

Movie Review: The Lincoln Lawyer

By Jennifer Gau

Based on the best-selling novel by Michael Connelly, director Brad Furman brings to the big screen a look into the life of a professional liar. Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is really good at what he does. His reputation as a defense lawyer precedes him and Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) hires Haller to defend him against rape and attempted murder charges. As Haller dives deeper into the case, he is caught in dangerous predicament that makes him utilize everything and everyone he knows.

Haller works out of the backseat of his Lincoln, and surrounds himself with a unique team. Earl (Laurence Mason) is his driver and connection to the streets. Frank Levin (William H. Macy) is his investigator able to uncover impossible-to-get information. Moreover, in his personal life, he maintains a good relationship with his ex-wife Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei) so that he can remain grounded through the innocence of his daughter.

Phillippe plays a convincing spoiled son of a successful real estate agent. However, he doesn't show much acting development from his character in "Cruel Intentions (1999)." He even looks the same age as if the past twelve years never happened. McConaughey, on the other hand, plays a very different character from his previous roles as a heartthrob in chick flicks. He still cleans up nice in a nice dark blue suit in the courtroom.

The screenplay is well written. It has a good amount of suspense and flows smoothly so the audience isn't left behind in the twists and turns. Camera work focuses in at the right moments. In the courtroom, Furman utilizes many close-ups and a 360-degree view around Mick to highlight the man of the hour. Haller is a natural and shows off his persuasiveness to lead the jury to think what he wants them to think. The film's soundtrack supports the dialogue mainly to set the mood after Haller solves a problem by orchestrating situations to go his way.

Overall, the movie is a thrill resembling a long episode of "Crime Scene Investigation (CBS network)." It has the mystery, cutthroat characters and convincing performances; the audience really doesn't know what to believe except for what the lawyers bring to the table. And what Matthew McConaughey brings is worth seeing.

Runtime: 1 hour 59 minutes
Rated: R

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