Stylishly sexing up the criminal justice system and then some, The Lincoln Lawyer mixes nasty sleaze and sassy attitude with serious, provocative moves. And burrows into the seedier side of the LA legal system with candidly brutal finesse.
Matthew McConaughey revives his sagging career of late as Mick Haller, the charismatic, toxic tongued lawyer with a specialty defending lowlifes. And bending the system whenever possible with shrewd, manipulative angles more often than not way outside any conventional rules and regulations on the books. Lacking access to the gouged fees enjoyed by lawyers with more well heeled or typically gullible clients, Haller phones in his legal briefs from the back of his Lincoln car, and with a secretary sorting out the supplementary details from her bedroom.
And though Haller’s flighty professional methods might seem to give him an advantage in terms of his elusive access on wheels, there’s more often than not an assortment of peeved clients in hot pursuit. Such as the fleet of menacing Hell’s Angels bikers tailing him on the freeway and not pleased with his pace in freeing one of their own, who is cooling his impatient heels behind bars for cultivating a thriving pot farm.
But Haller’s days of dodging clients and prosecutors alike may be coming to a close, when he appears to hit the jackpot after he’s inexplicably courted to represent a powerful big bucks business honcho’s son. Beverly Hills baby-faced party animal Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) is charged with the torture rape of a low level hooker. But he protests his innocence and fingers her pimp instead as conspiring to frame him in a future high price tag civil suit, while the brutalized admitted call girl Reggie (Margarita Levieva) insists Roulet is the perp.
Spicing up legal proceedings to infuse a heavy dose of explosively hip, cool and haunting into the routinely bland but itself suspect underbelly of the LA judicial bureaucracy, The Lincoln Lawyer likewise gets heavy politically, in stripping down the system to a raw litany of internal injustices. And counting the railroading of underclass innocents; plea bargaining as an option to primarily advance the careers of ambitious prosecutors; the intricate web of deceit that entitles the purchase of justice for the wealthy; and the dirty little secret of prostitution as a long unscrupulous cover and get out of jail free pass, for legal rape.
Adapted from the Michael Connelly bestseller and directed by Brad Furman (The Take, Buried Alive In The Blues), The Lincoln Lawyer is also fired up with a crisply conveyed cast chemistry counting Marisa Tomei, John Leguizamo and William H. Macy as Haller’s devoted eccentric sidekick who is dangerously onto something in their checkmated murky midst. And on a not entirely unrelated side note, Furman directed Unbroken, a PSA for The Rape Abuse Incest National Network.
4 [out of 4] stars