I know a lot of people are feeling burnt out on law dramas and cops shows as the networks flood the airwaves with mediocre programming, but for fans of the genre, let me recommend The Lincoln Lawyer. It felt like a throw back to the better court-room dramas of the early 90’s mixed with the solid writing of some of cable’s best current ongoing series.
I know I’m a week behind on this one, I was talked into Sucker Punch last weekend, so I just got to see this last night. The Lincoln Lawyer is based on a 2005 book of the same name. Written by Michael Connelly, this was the first of 4 books starring the character of Mickey Haller, who is played by Matthew McConaughey in the movie. Here is the trailer:
As I’m sure you just noticed in the trailer, this isn’t just about a court case, but a lot more than that. It’s an ethical dilemma that puts our protagonist in the proverbial ‘Rock and a Hard Place’. The movie’s pacing is consistent and the story progresses nicely, feeling neither rushed, nor as if it’s dragging. Much of the movie you are lead to believe one outcome will result from the events on-screen, but I was pleasantly surprised to find I was wrong about said outcome. It’s increasingly rare anymore that I can be surprised by a movie, so just when I thought I had it figured out, they threw in a well-timed twist.
The movie’s antagonist is played by Ryan Phillippe, who looks the part of the spoiled rich kid and successfully pulls off a convincing psychopath. He is a good foil to McConaughey’s lawyer, and they have an impressive on-screen chemistry.
William H. Macy plays Mickey’s friend Frank, an investigator who looks into clients stories for the defense. People who know Macy, but don’t watch Shameless may be off put by his disheveled look in here, but he is, as usual, at the top of his game in here.
We also see Marisa Tomei as Mickey’s ex-wife. A rare divorced couple that actually gets along, which is made even rarer by their professions. Mickey is defense attorney, but Tomei’s character works at the D.A.’s office. They are held close by the daughter they share.
After that the cast of the movie is full of under-rated character actors, some of which don’t even make their way into the trailer. Chief among them is one of TV’s best actors, star of AMC’s Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston. He appears in a smaller role, but still makes an impact. In addition to Cranston, we also see someone from the other side of the Television quality spectrum with Bones star Michaela Conlin. The 2 TV stars play Police Detectives investigating a case that involves Mickey. The cast rounds out with performances from Michael Pena, John Leguizamo, and Josh Lucas.
Then there is the comic relief: Eric Etebari.
In the midst of the trial, when Phillippe is being accused of Attempted Rape and Murder, this dude takes the stand and proceeds to tell us about what a Ladies’ Man he is…with hookers.
Everything he says is AWESOME.
This guy reminded me of “Man in Wig” from Drive Angry. He was so ridiculous we couldn’t stop laughing, but somehow it didn’t ruin the flow of the movie.
This movie pays off in almost every aspect. It’s been quite some time since I’d seen a legal thriller I liked this much. I highly recommend this movie. I give it a very strong 3.5 Bears.