The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

The Lincoln Lawyer is Brad Furman‘s adaptation of Michael Connelly‘s novel, written by John Romano, starring Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña and Bryan Cranston.

Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is pretty much the definition of a sleazy lawyer. But then he takes on the defense of Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a rich kid accused of murder. Together with his best friend, private detective Frank Levin (William H. Macy) he digs into the particulars of the case. Pretty soon he discovers that the story Louis is telling can’t be quite true – and there might be a connection to one of Mick’s old cases.

The Lincoln Lawyer is basically the cinematical equivalent of fast food. There’s some nurtitional value to it, it will satisfy your hunger – but only for a little while. Is it a culinary delight? Well, no. But it does its job without leaving much behind, good or bad.

I have to admit that I have my problems with Matthew McConaughey. Apart from the fact that he isn’t the world’s best actor (which is, admittedly, a mostly forgiveable offence), it”s the way he talks that really rubs me the long way. I never noticed before (or maybe he decided that that was his character’s thing) but he talks like he has a hot potato or two in his mouth at all times. And he talks a lot. That’s really annoying.

[Also slightly disconcerting: how much Josh Lucas and Matthew McConaughey look alike. Why would you cast them in the same film?]

But apart from him, the cast was really good. Nothing less can be expected from Marisa Tomei and William H. Macy, but I was actually surprised by Ryan Philippe, too. It’s been a while that he did… anything really, and he turned in a solid performance. But my personal highlights were Michael Peña and John Leguizamo. Wonderful actors who we see much too little of.

I can very well imagine the book this is based on, without ever having read anything by Connelly. The story follows an extremely classic shape and therefore holds no surprises. If you’ve ever seen a thriller, you know how this is going to progress. I guess, if you generally like crime stories, this will be reassuring. I’m not much of a fan myself and especially not for formulaic crime stories, so I wasn’t really impressed. But I knew what I was getting in for and it was fine.

Summarising: If you want a classic crime story and are not annoyed by Matthew McConaughey, this will be the right film for you.

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