I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a sucker for a legal thriller. Though I don’t watch any of the “Law and Order” series, I’m pretty much game to get involved in any movie that takes place in America’s criminal justice system. ”The Lincoln Lawyer” is not a particularly notable entry into the genre, but it’s compelling and entertaining enough to make for a good watch.
Matthew McConaughey stars as the titular litigator Mickey Haller, a slightly crooked lawyer in the mold of George Clooney’s character in “Michael Clayton.” He’s caught in entangling web of alliances and often finds himself in tough positions as a result. His bind in “The Lincoln Lawyer” results after taking on a spoiled brat of a client, Ryan Phillipe’s Louis Roulet. He’s been accused of beating a prostitute and ropes Haller into a devious master plan that will keep him out of jail. Unwilling to be made a pawn in anyone’s game, Haller and his investigator Frank Levin (William H. Macy), start pulling their own strings.
The story, taken from the novel by Michael Connelly, is engaging and engrossing, just as any good page-turner feels as you grip it. But as is often the case with such airport magazine stand mass-market paperback books, “The Lincoln Lawyer” keeps the events rolling by sacrificing character development. While McConaughey’s performance (one of the earliest in his much-heralded comeback) is decent enough to propel the movie, it could have gone from merely good to GREAT by adding a few more layers of complexity to Haller. But all in all, “The Lincoln Lawyer” is fitting for what it is: a breezy legal drama. B /