February 2, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 37°F


Guiltless acting drives crime plot

Matthew McConaughey sheds his shirt along with his typical pretty boy image in “The Lincoln Lawyer” as he plays Mick Haller, a fierce defense attorney who represents the scumbags of Beverly Hills.

Based on Michael Connelly’s novels about Haller, who works on legal cases from the back of his automobile, “The Lincoln Lawyer” boasts a surprisingly well-rounded cast whose acting drives a compelling story line and keeps viewers guessing throughout the film.

The plot is simple: Haller gets a call from a potential client, Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a wealthy and handsome young realtor. Reggie Campo (Margarita Levieva), a good-looking prostitute, accuses Roulet of beating and raping her after meeting at a local nightclub. Roulet proclaims his innocence and that the accusation is a ploy to steal his wealth. What unfolds is a twisted, character-driven story and courtroom plot that develops into a film that keeps viewers at the edge of their seats.

Despite the low expectations many moviegoers had for McConaughey because of his rom-com past, he shines in this film. He speaks every line with conviction and intent. While Phillippe’s looks seem to be his biggest strength, his acting excels in this flick, living up to the bad boy reputation he earned years ago in “Cruel Intentions.”

Marisa Tomei brilliantly co-stars in this courtroom drama, playing both Haller’s ex-wife and the assistant district attorney who he regularly faces in court. Tomei spans the two worlds with ease, applying her mean streak to the law yet maintaining her motherly poise and nurturing role as a single parent.

However, there were several downfalls to the anticipated flop. Throughout McConaughey’s adventures in his Lincoln, the camera makes quick and awkward movements between the city skyline and the actor, seeming as if a rave were happening in his vehicle. These movements confuse the viewer about what is actually taking place in the scene.

Director Brad Fruman’s strength in casting and acting in “The Lincoln Lawyer” overwhelmingly outweigh the film’s weaknesses, including shoddy camera work and exaggerated multiple endings. It’s a captivating story that keeps viewers wanting more. The film’s quality is equivalent to that of Mick Haller’s Lincoln: clean, classic and desirable.

“Lincoln Lawyer” was written by John Romano, adapted from the novel by Michael Connelly and directed by Brad Furman.

3.5 out of 4 stars