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The Lincoln Lawyer - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
cinema_holic
cinema_holic
The Lincoln Lawyer
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Directing: B+
Acting: B+
Writing: B
Cinematography: B
Editing: B



The Lincoln Lawyer is the kind of movie where you can imagine all its A-list (or at least B-plus-list) stars reading the script and, without anything better to serve as their next acting jobs, saying, "Well, it's decent enough."

Because that's precisely what this movie is: decent enough. There's nothing particularly bad about it, and the performances, given the type of material, are solid. But there's nothing amazing going on here either. It's a perfectly adequate weekend matinee. Or perhaps an eventual nice Sunday afternoon on pay-per-view.

Matthew McConaughey plays the title character, Mick, a guy who evidently runs his practice mostly out of his Lincoln. His foe is Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a Really Bad Man who uses attorney-client privilege to his advantage. Supporting Mick (and also supporting McConaughey) are his researcher (William H. Macey); a cop friend (John Leguizamo); and his still-friendly prosecutor ex-wife (Marisa Tomei).

But wait, there's more! One bracket down from that star power, there's also Josh Lucas as the guy attempting to prosecute Louis Roulet; Michael Peña as a key former client of Mick's; Trace Adkins as one of Mick's many biker friends; and Frances Fisher (who is perhaps most recognizable as Kate Winslet's mother in Titanic) as Roulet's mother.

And, well, they all got a well-earned paycheck. The Lincoln Lawyer could have been a lot worse, and in fact is not bad at all, but it also had a lot of potential with which it didn't seem to want to do much. There's a lot of moral ambiguity to the situation of a defense attorney representing a client he knows has committed a heinous crime (although whether or not Roulet committed the specific crime for which he is now on trial is not immediately revealed). But director Brad Furman seems much more interested in making the story entertaining than exploring that ambiguity.

--Which is, well, fine. It is entertaining. And it's nice to see McConughey in something with at least a little bit of intellect to it rather than complete fluff -- although it could be argued that movies like this are fluff disguised as smart drama. Naturally, it depends on your point of view. If you like courtroom dramas then you'll probably like this movie; that's really what it comes down to.

But I was left a little disappointed. There could have been much more to this, but The Lincoln Lawyer doesn't bother. I, however, am likely to be in the minority here. The target audience of this movie (which, full disclosure, is not really me) is likely to enjoy this movie plenty. It was unusually nuanced performances given the genre, and it has the requisite plot twists -- and although the existence of the twists it predictable, at least the twists themselves are not.

The Lincoln Laywer will keep you on your toes, and that's really all any audience is going to ask of a movie like this. And I have to give it props for taking the rather unusual route of being preceded by a trailer that actually cleverly misleads the viewer rather than giving away the entire story (that gun you see McCaunaghey holding does not quite hold the same meaning you're led to believe it does). So, as the telling of an intriguing, if ultimately inconsequential, story goes, this one's a guaranteed audience pleaser.



Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Phillippe play a bit of cat-and-mouse in 'The Lincoln Lawyer'.


Overall: B
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2 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
susandennis From: susandennis Date: March 21st, 2011 04:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh I am so glad I did not realize you were going to this. I would have wanted to horn in and I didn't have time. I love the Lincoln Lawyer books - just finished another one. I just put this one on my Netflix queue. I'm glad it did not completely suck.
cinema_holic From: cinema_holic Date: March 23rd, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
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Really?? Had I known you'd have any interest I totally would have invited you! But, as you indicated, apparently in this case it was just as well.
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2 comments or Leave a comment