It is fair to say that Matthew McConaughhey has made his fair share of weak chick flicks. This is definitely not one of them. This movie is slick, involves a good courtroom drama, and has various twists and turns. One could say that this is the best drama Matthew has ever done, and he is rightly getting some recognition for his acting in this film. The film as well has an excellent supporting cast. One could have wished for more of a part for the splendid Marisa Tomei. William Macy and Josh Lucas are first rate in their roles as well.
But for an hour and 59 minutes the focus is squarely on Mickey Haller (McConaughhey) a defense lawyer who works out of the back of his Lincoln Continental. Americans frankly don’t understand the advocacy system of justice very well. It is the job of lawyers to argue a case for their client or against the person that is being prosecuted. They are advocates, rhetoricians, not judges or juries. The truth of the matter is to be sorted out by judges and juries. Yes, lawyers must play by certain rules, and Haller knows how to bend them more than a slinky bends. But their job is in essence to do the best job they can to present the best case scenario possible for their client. But what happens when you find out, in the middle of things that the client you are defending is not merely a snake but a murderer, and the attorney client privilege prevents Haller from disclosing all sorts of things he has learned about his client.
I liked almost everything about this movie. It is in the end a movie about justice, and if you liked Law and Order, you will certainly like this film. It has the intrigue and the chops to keep you interested throughout, and the writing is quite good. I like the cinematography as well. It is a well produced tight film with no real dead zones. It may not make you like the American justice system any better, but you will likely leave the movie with a smile to see how a man survives by his wits, even in a wicked world, knowing how to work the system until something good and righteous happens. Sometimes the better guys (who are not the perfect guys) do in fact win. And no there is not any gratuitous violence or sex or bad language in this movie, surprisingly enough. The story and the acting are allowed to carry the movie along— and that is refreshing. So, is the Lincoln Lawyer a lawyer like Lincoln? Well, yes and no. You remember the reputation of Honest Abe, and Haller is more like Slick Rick. But in their concern and compassion for the least, the last, and the lost, there is a resemblance to be sure.