Hollywood seems to have forgotten how to make a complex and satisfying legal thriller, one that blends elements of detective fiction and courtroom cliffhanger.
But they’ve found their mojo with “The Lincoln Lawyer,” a film version of Michael Connelly’s best-selling novel about a defense attorney named Mickey Haller.
He’s played by Matthew McConaughey, who hasn’t had a hit with a serious film in a while. He’s born to play Haller, a guy who knows the angles and, in a pinch, which strings to pull.
Still, he may have met his match in his new client, Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), who is on trial for attempted rape and murder. Before long, it becomes apparent to Haller that Roulet is a real bad egg – but by then, it’s too late for the lawyer to wiggle out of involvement as Roulet’s lawyer. And attorney-client privilege keeps him from telling the things he knows about Roulet.
Deliciously twisted and tricky, “The Lincoln Lawyer” offers McConaughey the juiciest and most complicated character he’s played in a long time. He’s got terrific support from Phillippe as his client and a supporting cast that includes Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, John Leguizamo and Michael Pena.
“The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey uses the backseat of his chauffeured Town Car as his office to get around all of L.A.’s various courthouses) is charged-up entertainment, a film that earns its suspense and manages to stay one step ahead of the viewer.
**** 4 Stars (out of 5)