Saturday, April 09, 2011

"The Lincoln Lawyer" (2011) - Movie Review

“The Lincoln Lawyer” is so busy in setting up the intelligence of smart lawyer that it forgets the core part of a court room drama which is the swing of conscience and the emotional conflict with one’s belief system. The great films and the corny ones usually consist of an obligation in the personal war the key takers of this justice system they carry along. Either they are highly toned righteous fighters for the prosecutors or the brilliance in working in the system for the criminals, the trade off in this trade has been dealt in films with the eye for the right and the wrong regardless of the loop holes and whatnot in this system.

Matthew McConaughey’s Mickey Haller is swift, smooth and in a way sleazy. He is not charming rather a good looking dude who drives in an expensive ride dealing with the criminals in the way they have to be dealt with. He is a show off knowing that favours run through from top to bottom. While he can be cocky and mistake a court personnel’s name, he can come back and hit them with proper dealings to get his client’s bumped up in the proceedings. He can also work his magic with the public prosecutor to work along with him to post pone a case since his biker client can pay him for his work. He can mess you up if he wants to with linking the right people to do all the wrong things. He is that good.

He is divorced unsurprisingly from Marisa Tomei’s Maggie and has an amicable relationship with her that consists nothing but flirting and extracting information. “The Lincoln Lawyer” based on the novel by Michael Connelly has the perfect elements for a great court room drama but is vacant of any relatable experience of philosophical battle in its central character. Mickey is particularly requested by a young rich man Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillipe) for he is in a mix for what looks like a set up for extracting money of this man. A prostitute claims to have been attacked by Louis and now with criminal charges Louis wants Mickey outside of their company lawyers. Is it because Mickey is good at what he does in defending or is there a catch? Of course there is a catch.

What great supporting cast this film has? Marisa Tomei, Willam H. Macy as his trusted private investigator, his bondsman John Leguizamo, Josh Lucas as public prosector and all are spread across in a not so thankful roles. The battle between Haller and Lucas’ Ted Minton are laughable while there is nothing but sexual attraction that exists between Maggie and Haller. The only possible side we could have seen of Haller was through William H. Macy’s Frank Levin who gets whacked even before we get to know him.

The plot is clever on how Louis plays around with this boasting defense lawyer and plays him without any trouble. What is cleverer than that is how Haller comes back placing his coins on correct places. We almost see his tactics until it gets executed yet there is no smirk on our face on how this man pulled this off. McConaughey’s Haller needs more than disheveled hair, vodka and sweats to prove his stress level. Take my beloved film “Michael Clayton” wherein George Clooney’s titular character goes through the worst day of his life and yet he remains clean but makes us feel his internal pressure. His body language without any gimmicks resonates with pain, guilt and stress.

Seeing McConaughey’s faint attempt to bring some gravity to the seriousness of the situation in the film, I was reminded of this same actor playing something similar character of nature in “Thirteen Conversations about one thing” and how he worked the guilt and internal struggle with precision and dedication. He may not be the best actor in the business but he is capable of bringing out something like that and to see him sleep walk through Mickey Haller is little painful.

Regardless of the rants of this reviewer you will find “The Lincoln Lawyer” entertaining and has a brain. Director Brad Furman uses his main actor’s looks and talks to substantiate the presence of this person exist purely in the film. Working on the screenplay of John Romano it has the right ingredients to make a good Sunday not so brainless flick but lacks the great flavour these kind of films comes with.

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