Saturday, July 30, 2011

Half of "The Lincoln Lawyer" Remains Unseen

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 65 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Running time: 118 minutes (1 hour, 58 minutes)
MPAA – R for some violence, sexual content and language
DIRECTOR: Brad Furman
WRITER: John Romano (based upon the novel by Michael Connelly)
PRODUCERS: Sidney Kimmel, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Scott Steindorff, and Richard S. Wright
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Lukas Ettlin (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Jeff McEvoy
COMPOSER: Cliff Martinez


Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña, Bob Gunton, Frances Fisher, Bryan Cranston, Trace Adkins, Laurence Mason, Margarita Levieva, Pell James, Shea Whigham, Michael Paré, and Reggie Baker

The Lincoln Lawyer is a 2011 courtroom drama and legal thriller starring Matthew McConaughey as the lead character, Mickey Haller. The film is based upon the 2005 novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, the first book in the Mickey Haller series from American crime writer, Michael Connelly.

Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is a criminal defense attorney who operates around Los Angeles County in a Lincoln Town Car, currently driven by his chauffer, Earl (Laurence Mason). Haller has spent his career defending the usual suspects (drug dealers, murderers), but he has just landed the case of his career. Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a Beverly Hills playboy, has been charged in the brutal beating of a sex worker, Regina Campo (Margarita Levieva). Mickey’s sleazy reputation and Roulet’s tastes for prostitutes, however, only complicate an already difficult case.

I have not read the book upon which The Lincoln Lawyer is based, so I don’t know how close the movie is to novel. Watching this film, I got the idea that screenwriter John Romano and director Brad Furman certainly tried to squeeze as much of the novel as they could into the movie. As good as this film is, a lot of the story seems to be happening offstage or off-camera, in this case. I lost track of how many times, supporting and minor characters ran up to McConaughey’s Mickey Haller and talked about something big they did or found out for him. I kept thinking, “Did I miss something?” It is as if half of the movie takes place out of sight, and only the half with Haller actually happens in front of the audience. That makes many of the film’s twist and turns and sudden revelations seem contrived and arbitrary.

However, I do think that Matthew McConaughey gives a very good, layered, and textured performance, one that makes Haller, who is way too sleazy, an engaging character that you might want to follow around L.A. This is probably the best performance of McConaughey’s career and certainly his best turn as a dramatic actor in a long time. He makes The Lincoln Lawyer worth seeing. He makes a problematic legal thriller something of a thrill to watch.

6 of 10

Thursday, July 28, 2011

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