Keeva Stratton,Â Quip Creative
Directed by: Brad Furman
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Marisa Tomei, John Leguizamo
I must confess that I didn\’t have any great expectations coming into this film, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is a tautly crafted, well paced legal thriller, with an impeccably balanced cast and a solid story. The film also provides Matthew McConaughey with his best role â€“ and elicits his strongest acting performance â€“ in years.
Right from the opening scene, when we are introduced to the slick LA lawyer Mickey Haller (McConaughey) in his â€˜office\’, the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car, as it glides effortlessly down the tarmac, while the soundtrack hits us with Bobby â€˜Blue\’ Bland singing his classic blues tune â€˜Ain\’t No Love In the Heart of City\’ â€“ the film easily pulls you in, and takes you on an entertaining ride all through its running time of just under two hours.
The film is based on a book of the same name (released in 2005) by the highly regarded, award-winning crime novelist, Michael Connelly, best known for his now iconic detective character, Hieronymus Bosch.
The Lincoln Lawyer doesn\’t feature Bosch, but instead presents us with another enthralling protagonist, Mickey Haller, a smooth talking, slick, charismatic Los Angeles criminal defence attorney, who makes his living defending a variety of low-life criminal scumbags by using his thorough knowledge of how to exploit the loopholes in the legal system. Haller\’s personal mantra is aptly summarised by the vanity license plate of the Lincoln he uses as his office â€“ NTGUILTY.
Then one day Haller thinks he\’s struck the jackpot and scored a â€˜franchise\’ client â€“ the biggest, most lucrative case he\’s had in years. Thanks to a paid-off bail bondsman (John Leguizamo), he lands a rich Beverly Hills playboy, Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), accused of the brutal assault and attempted murder of a prostitute. Roulet vehemently protests his innocence, and Haller is ultimately dragged into a case that is much more complicated, dangerous and troubling than he initially assumed.
The film has a number of things working in its favour. It boasts quality storytelling, and skilfully shaded characters. The lead role is a perfect fit for McConaughey â€“ he invests Mickey Haller with his trademark charm, but the character is not one-dimensional. Instead, Haller\’s gritty back-story and his well-developed relationships with other characters give a satisfying sense of emotional depth and intrigue. The other supporting actors all do a sterling job, even if some of them are a touch underutilised. Marisa Tomei plays Maggie McPherson, Haller\’s long-suffering ex-wife, a prosecuting attorney who has a very different set of legal ideals, and with whom Haller has a young daughter.
William H. Macy is Frank Levin â€“ Haller\’s faithful private investigator, who delves into the case and is the first to encounter any inkling that all is not as it would seem â€“ and he plays the role with his customary aplomb. The film â€“ happily â€“ doesn\’t simply rely on glossy production values and stock plot devices. There are a number of smartly paced, cleverly developed twists and turns, and the director Brad Furman isn\’t afraid to give the film an appropriately harsh and cynical texture and feel where necessary.
This film is easy to recommend, and is now open in cinemas across Australia. (And if you want more after watching this film, there are presently four Mickey Haller books!)
Category: Film & TV