Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

The Film: The Lincoln Lawyer (based on the book of the same name by Michael Connelly)

The Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizama, etc.

The Dealio: Mick Haller is a defense attorney who operates out of the backs of a fleet of Lincoln Town Cars, rather than offices. Living in the substantial shadow of a revered, now-deceased father, also a lawyer and a jurist, as well, Mick is asking himself if he has finally found a truly innocent client, in the person of Louis Roulet. Louis is the son of an upper crust LA family, now accused of a ferocious attack on a young woman with a murky background. Since Mick only has one speed- in the red- it is not long before he finds himself up to his ears in trouble, contradictions, lies and loads of misdirection.

The Grading Session: 4.86 pengies out of 5. Nice, spicy soundtrack...let's get that right out of the way. Then, McConnaughey was born to play this role, and moves into it with the effortlessness and ease of a cowpoke slipping into a pair of broken-in boots. Phillippe is very natural in his role as well. The supporting cast is superb, and my one gripe is two major departures from the book. I don't object to the one, since this movie holds the possibility of others to come (Haller is featured in at least two other novels centering on him, and several more as a support to Harry Bosch), one of the supporting characters has been renamed and given a slightly different personality from the that of the person in the book. That's understandable if there are more Hall movies in the offing. The other was the inclusion of a (fairly violent, but satisfying) scene towards the end. The only thing I can imagine is that the writer thought (and Connelly did participate in the screenplay) 'let's give the viewers a little pay-off before we sum up.' It works, but I was a taddy bit perplexed by its addition. Didn't need it; nice to think about, though.

Lessons Learned: This is not necessarily a new or distinct one, but it's a grand reminder: don't judge a books by its cover. Also- just because a lawyer hangs out with motorcycle gangs and snitches doesn't make him evil. Necessarily. Lastly: if it looks like someone has gotten into your house, DON'T GO IN!

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