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The Lincoln Lawyer
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The Lincoln Lawyer – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is one of those Hollywood defence lawyers we’ve become familiar with – ruthlessly effective at getting the bad guy off, but with a worthy moral code buried just shallow enough to be accessible in extreme circumstances.
So, when a young millionaire playboy, Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), is accused of brutally murdering a prostitute he met in a bar, who else would he turn to but Haller?
The chief prosecutor, Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei) just happens to be Haller’s ex wife, which adds a personal dimension to the case.
All the evidence points to Louis’s guilt, but that doesn’t bother Haller, of course – as long as he can’t be certain, he just needs to ensure that Maggie can’t prove it.
But when his own investigator Frank (William H Macy) stumbles on a possible link to one of Haller’s previous cases, Haller starts having real doubts about Roulet’s innocence – but as his lawyer, he can’t do anything about it.
If he does his job, will the real killer get off? Should he risk his reputation and deliberately throw the case? Or can he retain his professional pride and still ensure that justice is done?

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

After a series of mediocre to poor roles in mediocre to poor romantic comedies, it’s nice to see Matthew McConaughey get a role where he has to try.
Haller is an interesting character, a ruthless lawyer who cares just a little more about justice than winning.
He’s also quite a good guy – although he’s no longer with the mother of his child, they still spend most of the film flirting, so there’s none of that smarmy womanising that taints so many of Hollywood’s bad-boy anti-heroes.
From the eponymous lawyer, to his smarmy client, the determined prosecutor, no-nonsense police investigators and ex-cons, the cast-list is filled with caricatures, but everyone does a perfectly convincing job. A long, shaggy-haired, moustachioed William H Macy has fun as the private investigator Frank, but his role is little more than a device to shunt the plot forward.
It’s clear from early on who the bad guy is, as another set of Hollywood cliché’s build up around him, so – as with many films in the genre – it’s not so much a who-dunnit, but more of a why-and-how dunnit and will they get away with it?
Part police procedural, part courthouse drama and part conspiracy thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer feels a little like the feature-length pilot episode of a new TV drama – a perfectly good one, but any film that would be equally comfortable on the small screen, probably isn’t worth a cinema ticket.
Oh – in case you’re wondering about the title, when we first meet Haller, he’s been banned from driving, so he conducts most of his business from the back of the Lincoln limousine he hires to travel around town. He’s a lawyer, but in a Lincoln.

Opens nationwide 18th March 2011

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