The Lincoln Lawyer - Blu-ray Review

'this isn't going to be one of those courtroom dramas where the prosecution spends all of his time at charity conventions and relaxes by listening to Chopin'

The Lincoln Lawyer is a fun but fairly processional legal thriller which makes a couple of noteworthy decisions in the interests of jazzing up a genre which seems to have disappeared from cinema screens over the last couple of years. In what other film, for example, could you see courtroom scenes on the one hand coupled with a soundtrack comprised almost entirely of rap music on the other? Brad Furman's take on Michael Connelly's novel feels fresh and modern and very much like Furman is here with those two concepts at the top of his agenda; the protagonist drives round in a Lincoln instead of having an office for Pete's sake, this isn't going to be one of those courtroom dramas where the prosecution spends all of his time at charity conventions and relaxes by listening to Chopin.

That said, not all of Furman's choices pay off. Nothing says 'inexperience' like mid-shot zooms. Furman probably thought he was creating movement, jazzing up the image in-time with his colourful palette. He's not though, he's merely doing his best to give his audience a headache and if the director could have manufactured a bit of restraint and kept his camera lens still a little more then The Lincoln Lawyer would have been much more of a joy to behold.

Other choices bear more tastier returns. The casting is perfect, from Matthew McConaughey as uber-cool lawyer Mick Haller down to Bob Gunton as rich boy Louis Roulet's (Ryan Phillippe) slimy counsel. Phillippe, as the rich boy with the silver spoon he desperately wants to use to cut someone's head off and a nagging sense of 'I know more than you do about every crime, ever' is grimly fantastic. The very modern, very human, relationship between Haller and Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei) feels authentic (and fresh), if under-developed and the addition of William H. Macy and Josh Lucas round out a selection of strong turns.

The plot feels similar to 2007's Fracture if only in the sense that it doesn't take a great deal of pondering to see where it is going, not that this erases the joy of watching it trying to weave you a path to the rabbit hole in the first place. There's some successes by way of mystery-generated tension but really the main joy is in seeing if the innately good character can overcome the innately evil one. For all his attempts to make this something original even Furman can't sell that concept as something new, not that the film ever gets bogged down in trying too hard to do so. An even-more-daring sequel with roughly the same set of actors would be entirely welcome.

Look further...

'a textbook example of how not to adapt a book. While it does nothing egregiously wrong on the surface, it just manages to make everything slack and less interesting. Given that the source text was already pretty vanilla to begin with, you had better believe that this takes some doing' - Things That Don't Suck


  1. I didn't really fancy watching this as it starred Matthew McConaughey and the last film I saw with him in was "Sahara"... Enough said.
    But I was persuaded to watch this eventually by my girlfriend who works at Blockbuster and had heard good things from customers about it.
    We absolutely loved it. Good story, excellent casting and some bangin' "choons" in the soundtrack.
    I'd rate it a little higher at 4 out of 5.
    But, I also heard mumblings earlier this week that there may be a TV series in the works too...?

  2. Yes I've read those stories too. In a way I'm disappointed and in a way I'm not. It's good to see that the story will get to continue but I think I would have preferred to see it continue on the big screen. Still, interested to see what they come up with for TV.

    I think I watched all of five minutes of SAHARA. That was enough. Quite enjoyed GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST though. That got slated but I thought it was fairly harmless fun. Plus: Emma Stone.

    There's another article coming next week on possible future story lines for the franchise.

  3. Wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination but has a good performances from the cast and just an old-school mystery/courtroom drama film feel. Good Review!

  4. I quite liked this movie. Didn't bother reviewing it, but I liked the whole feel of it. The music was good and Matthew McConaughey was very convincing as this slick lawyer who outsmarts everyone. By now I have forgotten most of it, but it's not a bad movie to spend time with.

  5. Dan - Yup, agree completely. Nice to see this sort of film make a real go at it on the big screen again.

    myfilmviews - I imagine it's fairly disposable and not one that sticks around for long afterwards. In the article I compared it to FRACTURE and I found that to be similarly easy to forget.