Matthew McConaughey stars as cocky LA defense attorney Mick Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer, a slick, cleverly-plotted crime thriller adapted from Michael Connelly’s bestselling book. Haller works out of the back seat of his chauffeured car, hopping from one court to another, representing hookers, drug-dealers and the kind of assorted lowlifes that no one else will. His conscience comes into play when he takes the case of spoilt Beverly Hills playboy Louis Roulet (played by Ryan Phillippe) who’s been charged with brutally attacking and near-murdering a prostitute. His client insists he’s innocent, and that the hooker is out to fleece him. The case looks simple enough at first, but new twists slowly emerge that force Haller to confront his morals.
The film is stylish and suspenseful, and never lets go of your attention thanks to brisk pacing and some shrewd plotting. Like some of the best thrillers, The Lincoln Lawyer keeps you guessing until the end – not about who the villain is, but about how Haller will take him down.
The twists are hard to predict, the dialogue is crisp, and McConaughey is complemented by a fine supporting cast that includes Marisa Tomei as Haller’s ex-wife, William H Macy as his catty investigator, and Josh Lucas as the prosecutor he goes up against in court. Director Brad Furman paints a realistic, seamy picture of downtown Los Angeles, and gives us a relatable leading man who’s far from perfect.
Moody and gripping, The Lincoln Lawyer is a throwback to those fine noir films of the 70s; I’m going with three out of five. Not a bad way to spend a lazy evening.