The Lincoln Lawyer marks the first dramatic performance from everyone’s favorite surfer-dude/actor Matthew McCounaughey for quite some time. After almost a decade with forgettable romantic comedies, the A Time To Kill actor heads back into the courtroom for one of this spring’s most compelling films – the type of gripping legal drama that Hollywood just doesn’t deliver anymore.. McConaughey, playing a tragically flawed hero, leads an all-star cast, and supporting is Ryan Phillippe (Cruel Intentions, Crash) who returns to the type of devious role that made him popular in the first place.

 Known around seedy Los Angeles as the lawyer who will take any case for the right amount of money, Mick Haller (McCounaughey) lands his most profitable case yet. Louis Roulet (Phillippe) has been arrested for attempted rape and assault against a prostitute, but Louis is a 32 year old rich boy with his mother’s estate behind him no matter what he does. Louis could have any attorney but specifically asks for Mick. Greed encourages Mick to focus on the case, but as his instincts prove right as it becomes a fight for his own life, and nothing about this case is easy or even honest.

 It is very difficult not to like the charismatic McCounaughey as a person and as an actor; he is the epitome of cool and smooth. This role had his name written all over it, and is a perfect comeback vehicle for him. Same goes for Phillippe who has dabbled here and there in various genres. Physically the divorcee looks just like he did in I Know What You Did Last Summer, but his snake like characters have become more twisted than ever. Oscar winner Marisa Tomei (In the Bedroom, The Wrestler) and Oscar nominee William H. Macy (Magnolia, Fargo) round out a stellar cast that make this film both entertaining and compelling.

 Like most good thrillers, The Lincoln Lawyer, based on a novel by Michael Connelly, has many secrets that prohibit the audience from knowing too much or guessing the ending. The film’s strongest points however do precede the conclusion. The push and pull nature of both McConaughey and Phillippe’s characters make for good conflict  in and out of the courtroom. The film, directed by the young and relatively unknown Brad Furman, sustains its pace which is how this film stays alive. Good old fashion dramas like this with the right amount of suspense are hard to find these days. It’s great to see one again.

 Final Thought – A solid courtroom thriller led by McConaughey.

Grade B+

By: Dustin Chase W.

Editor: Charley Carroll

Dr. Donna Copeland’s


The Lincoln Lawyer, Mick, played by Matthew McConaughey, is a mostly exciting, engrossing ride through the American judicial system, some of it admirable—some not so.  It depicts a defense attorney who takes on “hopeless” cases and is often successful in getting clients off.  Mick is a major charmer, and from the start, we see him manipulate situations in dubious ways to pocket a fair amount of extra money.  The filmmakers did not want us to see him as all bad, though, so an appealing ex-wife (Marisa Tomei) and daughter are thrown in, and he is eventually forced (ironically by a current client’s antics) to do some soul-searching about previous cases.  

The plot is complex and requires the viewer to listen carefully and remember subtle clues that are sprinkled throughout.  The McConaughey character is extremely intelligent, and devises a plan that is ingenious in manipulating the system to achieve the results he has come to believe actually serve justice, without compromising his professional obligations.  

There is an especially interesting comment that may be making a statement about our actual judicial system.  When Mick is chided by a prosecutor for defending guilty clients who get to go free, he retorts that that is our judicial system at work; people must be proven guilty before they can be convicted.   It is the prosecutor’s responsibility to do that; not the defense attorney.  In the course of time, Mick’s conscience does begin to bother him, however, and he puts a fair amount of effort into undoing something regrettable he had allowed to happen years before.

Another interesting part of the film is seeing Mick get manipulated in ways similar to some of his own machinations.  That is, he is “had” by the same kind of techniques that he uses on other people.  In the end, though, his conscience speaks to him, and those same “street smarts” allow him to come up with a plan and execute it to disengage himself from a sticky situation and trap his foes.