First of all, I'll be upfront about this movie. I never got the title until I saw the extras. The extras explain that Matthew McConaghey's lawyer character works out of his Lincoln Continental car. Maybe I'm slow on the uptake but if the whole setup was this lawyer found it more convenient to work from his car, then I missed that. Even though there are lots of scenes of him going to and from court to wherever driven by his chauffeur, I just thought the open briefcase, the talking on the cell phone and the meeting up with the Hell's Angels clients on the road were all they were.
In another scene you see McConaghey going through old files in his garage so I just assumed he worked out of his home. Anyway, that's where I'm coming from.
The extras also pointed out by the book's author upon which the movie is based that the action occurs in this one justice area in Van Nuys, California, that houses various buildings such as a holding jail, courthouse and various bail bonds offices. In the movie I never figured that out as when they cut from scenes in each of these places you never really see McConaghey walk from one building to the next.
So in this sense despite a terrific movie that has great characters, tremendous twists and turns, great supporting cast (Marisa Tomei and John Leguizamo are among the "names") a very evil Ryan Philippe, I don't think the director who converted the book to screen if it took the extras (which are all pretty terrific) really was able to give us a sense that much of the courtroom and prisoner-lawyer scenes were all within virtually the same block.
The extras (and sorry to go on about them more than the actual movie but they really are terrific) also had the author Michael Connelly (a former LA Times crime reporter)take us on a drive around the LA of the Lincoln lawyer which was endlessly fascinating and very much Raymond Chandler-esque.
It isn't "Witness for the Prosecution", but it is in a league with "The Paradine Case" and makes some of the John Grisham films look pretty pale by comparison. Also, it is the clearest sign that Matthew McConaughy has more acting talent than almost anyone in films today. The plot is almost spellbinding, but seasoned with enough humour to prevent it from getting bogged down with court ritual. You may know what is going to happen, but the getting there is most of the pleasure, and unexpected turns are frequent. The film isn't a classic...yet. Give it a few years to season and it will be one of those great films that everyone wonders why it wasn't immediately recognized as fabulously entertaining...sort of like "Casablanca" or "Wizard of Oz", both initially thought to be bombs. If you...when you...buy it, it won't sit on a shelf for long before it gets taken out for another viewing, and then another....and then...
Nothing but praise for The Lincoln Lawyer. However I bought the Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital Download from Amazon US. Warning if you live in Canada you will not get the digital download as it is for iTunes US store only. Lionsgate Films responded to my concerns but Alliance films in Canada said "tough luck" no download. BUY the movie - just don't expect the digital download. The Lincoln Lawyer in the US $20 with all three options - BUT in Canada you pay $30 for only the disc.
Matthew McConaughey plays Mike Haller, a smooth LA high priced lawyer who defends scumbags. He is proud of how he gets off criminals and uses unethical means to do so. However, he sobs like a baby when he finds out he put an innocent man in jail. The local DAs loathe him.
A party girl is beat up and accuses a rich pretty boy (Ryan Phillippe), son of a real estate agent. He claims he was set up and there is evidence to indicate he was set up. However things are not quite right as the our lawyer finds out. Upon investigation he discovers that his client not only beat up the girl, but had done this once before during which the girl was killed except Mike Haller's former Hispanic defendant had taken the rap! Rather than walk away from a big money case, Haller must try to figure out a way to get an innocent Hispanic man out of prison, while presenting a case to make the real killer walk. Marisa Tomei plays the ex-wife and a prosecuter in this film and finally has gotten a role where she keeps her clothes on. William H. Macey has grown his hair out to play a private detective.
Good courtroom drama as well as an intriguing tale as things keep moving and twisting.
Legal/courtroom thrillers seem to be a rare breed these days, perhaps due to complete TV saturation thanks to Law and Order and the like. With no shoot-outs, car chases or whiz-bang special effects, the film has to rely, most refreshingly, on the quality of the acting, plot and the direction. McConaughey plays the central role of the coolly professional defence lawyer with understated aplomb and the plot is sufficiently twisty (though, unfortunately, by no means totally unpredictable) for the narrative to remain engaging. There is also a lovely, almost old-fashioned, stylishness to this film which perfectly matches the consistently managed pace. All-in-all a very accomplished and enjoyable film.
I loathe Matthew McConaughey and I turn off the sound every time his ubiquitous Lincoln commercials come onscreen, so I wasn't too hopeful about this movie, but I got it cheap and I like Philippe and Tomei. It's a really fun movie. Clever plot, loads of twists, amusing dialogue and great cast (I still dislike McC but he plays a rather unsavory hero so it works). It even has Michael Paré, who I haven't seen since the 80s, in a small role. Looks pretty good for his age. If you like Grisham, this is best of Grisham, and even if you don't much like lawyer films, it's sufficiently different to be worthwhile.
I do hope McConaughey will be recruited to play the role in subsequent adaptations, as he fits my mental image from the book to a T. Droll, understated and clever dialogue make for a captivating performance. A great story/