Friday, 4 May 2012

The Lincoln Lawyer

Successful LA defence attorney Mickey Haller (Matthew ‘Mahogany’ McConaughey)  lands a career case, the defence of a young millionaire playboy Louis Roulet (Ryan Philippe) who has been accused of attacking and beating high class prostitute Regina Campo (Margarita Levieva). Roulet claims his innocence and argues that he’s being set up. The film follows the case as twist follows twist, right up to the very end.

I’ve never been that into courtroom dramas (unless Fangshaw Standon is presiding/providing) but this one kept me interested for most of the time although to be honest I was never invested enough in the characters to really care which way the film came down on. I mainly kept with it just so I could find out at the end. After the initial twist, it is fairly obvious how things are going to go and it’s just a matter of how and when. Various side stories intertwine to create a deeper more complex story and this generally works well but Haller’s ex wife and child were only really there for one reason late on and felt a bit ignored. Calling the film The Lincoln Lawyer seemed like a bit of a stretch. Unless I’m missing something it is because Haller owns a Lincoln and drives from one place to another in it. I think he works in it once but it seems a bit flimsy to name an entire film after the car that the protagonist drives. The car didn’t play that big a role in the film.

Matthey McConaughey is actually half decent in the film. I’ve always been put off by him and his film choices or maybe a bit of both but he excels in the role of an arrogant, cocksure lawyer. He is surrounded by a very good cast that includes Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy and Frances Fisher but most are underused. McConaughey is very much at the centre of the film. Ryan Philippe is very good as the accused playboy. You never really know his true motives and comes across at times as both vicious enough to be guilty but amiable enough to be innocent. His is a well judged performance. Brad Furman’s direction is good, putting you at the heart of the Courtroom and creating two convincing sides of the story.

There are a couple of major plot holes in the story, with the most glaring being a knife covered in blood, despite the victim having not been stabbed. Another one is an important answer phone message which is different each time it is played. Another odd occurrence is that McConaughey claims his father represented Micky Cohen in the 40's. He was born in 1969 so even if his father was 35 when he had his son, he would still have been a child when he was said to have defended the gangster. That makes it even more remarkable that Cohen got off!

The Lincoln Lawyer offers nothing new to the genre and is a little predictable but it keeps the twists coming and is entertaining and engaging.


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