Wednesday 16 Apr

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Drama · The Lincoln Lawyer

The Lincoln Lawyer

Perhaps plotting a course for reinvention, Matthew McConaughey drives ‘The Lincoln Lawyer,’ a solid legal thriller.

Doug Bentin March 23rd, 2011

Ever since the glory days of “Perry Mason,” I’ve been a sucker for stories about slick lawyers who live along the thin line of professional ethics, sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other.

In “The Lincoln Lawyer,” Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey, “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”) skates along with one foot on the ethical side and the other, not so much.

Haller has no office, but operates out of his car’s backseat, hence the title. His clients tend to be on the lowlife side: bikers, hookers, dealers. A few years back, one of them, Jesus Martinez (Michael Peña, “Battle: Los Angeles”), was accused of beating a prostitute to death. So convinced of his guilt was Haller, the lawyer talked the guy into a plea bargain that saved him from the needle, but got him a life sentence.

Now, Haller has a new client, a rich and respectable one in Roulet (Ryan Phillippe, “Macgruber”), who says he was set up in a scam the same way Martinez was. As Haller and his investigator, Frank (William H. Macy, TV’s “Shameless”), look into the situation, it seems both clients could be telling the truth.

The film is based on a novel by Michael Connelly (“Blood Work”), so the plotting is trickier, but makes more sense than the standard-issue movie thriller. The script is by John Romano (“Nights in Rodanthe”), who knows how to pace the twists and action scenes, and direction is from Brad Furman, who doesn’t show signs of developing genius, but this is solid work and he could go on to a future of professionally made cop and crime dramas.

There is nice work from the rest of the cast, none of whom do breakout work, but they certainly won’t embarrass their loved ones, either. Haller’s former wife (Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”) works for the authorities and thinks her ex should be pickier when it comes to clients. Val (John Leguizamo, “Gamer”) scrounges for clients in holding cells; Mary (Frances Fisher, “The Roommate”) is the rich kid’s clutch-butt mother; and Earl (Laurence Mason, TV’s “Prison Break”) is Haller’s driver and the voice of street-smart reason.

But the picture belongs to McConaughey, who has an edge to his folksy, good-ol’-boy persona when he wants to use it. He always seems to be re-inventing himself — one minute, he’s doing some dreadful romantic comedy, and then he does something powerful and off-the-wall. You know he’s been around the block more than once, but it still comes as a surprise that he’s been in 30 films in 20 years.

Anyway, he’s good here as a man who decides to find out whether or not he’s got a conscience. The movie isn’t challenging — honestly, it’s got a lot of CBS prime time in it — but Haller is complicated, and the plot springs more than one surprise. It’s not a home run, but it is a solid double.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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