Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back of his Lincoln sedan. Haller has spent most of his career defending garden-variety criminals, until he lands the case of his career: defending Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a Beverly Hills playboy accused of rape and attempted murder. But the seemingly straightforward case suddenly develops into a deadly game of survival for Haller.
The Lincoln Lawyer is based on the 2005 best selling book by author Michael Connelly. The story centres around Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey) and the world of LA’s seedier elements. When Val, (John Leguizamo) presents him with a high profile case, Mickey thinks his meal ticket is in. When Real Estate heir apparent Lois Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), is arrested for attempted murder, it is up to Mickey to unravel the layers of lies and deceptions that surround this case.
The Lincoln Lawyer is a fantastic film. From the first music cue to the beat up 70s look in the opening credits, this film starts with an attitude and just delivers on all counts.
Matthew McConaughey hasn’t been this good since probably A Time To Kill and in this performance, he makes the film flow off his shoulders with ease. His skill as an actor really shines through and he has a lot of character to play with. Mickey Haller is one tough and smart lawyer. His dealings with people are honest but he never sweats when it comes to business. There are a few scenes when he is in a vulnerable state, and it’s at these moments when McConaughey let’s you see his ugly side. It’s these moments that makes this a great film.
Shot on the Sony RED camera, the film is stunning to look at. If I hadn’t stayed till the end credits and saw the RED logo, I would have thought the film was shot using old 70s stock. It just pops onscreen and the high contrast and dark colours make it feel like it was a Don Seigel (Dirty Harry) film filtered with todays sensibilities.
The music by Cliff Martinez was very 70s influenced as well. It never felt out of place and gave the film a really smooth pace and rhythm that compliments the visuals well. If you were to compare it to anything, you’d have to cite Gerge Clinton and Quincy Jones as definite influences.
You would really have to try to look out for the editing. It was a masterful job and was so seamless that you really don’t notice the cuts at all.
The supporting cast was absolutley brilliant. Each character felt fully developed and every actor brought a sense of realism and depth to each role. In even small parts, Michael Pare and Bryan Cranston made you realise how subtlty is an art form in and of itself.
Relative newcomer Brad Furman directs with a sure hand and never lets the action stall or slow down. If he was every unsure of a himself at all during the making of this film, it never translates to the screen. The camera let’s us see what we need to see and focusing on characters and style, shows that you can have a great looking film without forsaking plot or acting.
The Lincoln Lawyer is a rare treat for fans of crime thrillers. It’s a welcome change of pace to a lot of these type of movies which have seemed a little long in the tooth. It’s a jolt to the senses with great characters, storytelling and acting.
I give this film 4.5 out of 5
The Lincoln Lawyer starts in cinemas on Thursday the 31st of March