Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: Coutroom Drama, Thriller/Suspense
Opens locally Friday, March 18th, 2011
Run Time: 1 hour, 59 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy
Directed by Brad Furman (The Take)
Product placement has been a growing trend in films and movie over the past decade, but none that I can recall have been more blatant than "The Lincoln Lawyer." You may read reviews of this film that describe the plot as "A lawyer conducts business from the back of his Lincoln town car...", but this is totally irrelevant to the plot of the film. See the posters for this film? There's a Lincoln Continental in it. And in every trailer. Does the main character, Matthew McConaughey have a Lincoln in the movie? Yes. Does this matter at all? No. It would be like renaming it "A Clockwork Sunkist Orange" or "Reese's Pieces E.T." I fear that this may be the future, where we'll get films like "Fried Green Heinz Tomatoes," or similar titles pushing product even before we reach the theatre.
But the paid-for movie title aside, I was pleasantly surprised with The Lincoln Lawyer, a not-so by-the-book courtroom thriller that spends less time in the courtroom and more time with characterization and plot than I'm used to from this type of film.
The Plot. McConaughey gives his best performance in years as Mick, a slick and charismatic lawyer with some unorthodox ways of earning a living. He almost keeps his shirt on the entire length of the film...almost. The film has a great tone and style to it, and is the perfect mix of funny and compelling. It's a clever plot that I won't get into here less I give away the many twists and developments, but I will say that McConaughey ends up defending a client whom at the same time he is trying to bring down.
Legal Ease. Everything makes sense, and there are plenty of cliches, but McConaughey's laid back approach gives us a character at the film's center that we really pull for. Ryan Phillippe plays his dangerous client, while William H. Macy plays an investigator hired to look deeper into some of the cases Mick is working on. It's only Marisa Tomei's character and sub-plot (she is Mick's ex-wife but also his competing attorney) that seems thin and forced, marring up an otherwise tight script.
This Paragraph Brought to you by Examiner.com. Product placement aside, this is the type of film that I don't think will let anyone down who goes to see it. The middle of the film seems to lag and gets a bit convoluted, but if you stick with it until the end you will be satisfied. It also seems to go on past the expected ending point, but it is smart throughout. A good supporting cast helps flesh out some of the minor characters, including a very good yet breif scene or two from Michael Pena.
Bottom Line. I had a strange urge to buy a Lincoln Continental after the movie ended, but other than that I was impressed. The Lincoln Lawyer is a very good film, with just one too many flaws to be considered a great film. McConaughey though? One of the better performances actually, in this very young year of 2011...probably a few ticks shy (as well as several months too early) to get any kind of award recognition.
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