The Lincoln Lawyer

Directed By: Brad Furman

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña, Bob Gunton, Bryan Cranston, and William H. Macy

Hollywood used to be ballsy.  There was a time when big studios would tackle epic romances, moving dramas, and utterly intense thrillers.  They used to make movies that made you think.  In the chase of the almighty dollar, most of Hollywood's mainstream films have increasingly become big budget spectacles that are either adaptations or remakes.  They're often entirely too predictable as studios aren't willing to take too many risks on the unknown.  Well, with Brad Furman's The Lincoln Lawyer, we get a little dose of that old school magic even though it's an adaptation of Michael Connelly's novel of the same name.

Defense lawyer Mickey Halter (Matthew McConaughey) has built a lucrative career out of keeping criminals on the streets.  Operating out of his Lincoln town car with his driver Earl (Laurence Mason), he's defended drug addicts, gangsters, and murderers.  None of his experiences are anything like what he will be tackling when he accepts an offer to defend bachelor Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), who has been charged with viciously beating hooker Reggie Campo (Margarita Levieva).  With Roulet's mother being real estate tycoon Mary Windsor (Frances Fisher), this will be undoubtedly the biggest case of Halter's career.

Halter makes it clear from the start that he's defending Roulet and that he will only deal with Roulet as his client.  With the help of his private investigator Frank Levin (William H. Macy), Halter will take on Ted Minton (Josh Lucas)—a prosecutor from the District Attorney's office—and all the resources of the state of California.  The only problem is that Halter's not entirely sure whether his client is innocent, of beating a prostitute or several other crimes from the past for that matter.

Having seen The Lincoln Lawyer, I have to celebrate the fact that Matthew McConaughey has gotten himself attached to a film with more depth than Fool's Gold or Ghost of Girlfriends Past.  McConaughey had really become an irrelevant actor in recent years.  As Mickey Halter, McConaughey lights up the big screen and proves that he's still got it.  While he brings an acting prowess and an undeniable charm we've not seen from him in years when he’s in the courtroom, the strength of McConaughey's performance comes from the emotions he's able to convey when it's just him and the camera.

Director Brad Furman gives us the kind of film we don't see every day in The Lincoln Lawyer.  The movie is a riveting courtroom thriller with tension you could cut with a knife.  With a rich story and some old school filmmaking, it's the kind of legal drama that resembles a different era.  You can hear it in the soundtrack filled with oldies but goodies.  You can see it in the cinematography that pays homage to some great filmmakers of older generations.  You can feel it in the strong performances by McConaughey and the supporting cast.  The Lincoln Lawyer is an old school thriller with style.

The only issue with The Lincoln Lawyer is that it's predictable at times.  Once the premise of the film is fully developed, there are very few surprises.  For those of us who haven't read the book, that's not a very good sign.  Nonetheless, this movie is pretty damn entertaining.  With great performances from the cast and smart filmmaking by Brad Furman, this courtroom thriller electrifies the big screen.  The Lincoln Lawyer gets a 0.03% rating.  Have some wine coolers with this one.