The Lincoln Lawyer

Year: 2011
Production Co: Lakeshore
Director: Brad Furman
Producer: Sidney Kimmel
Writer: John Romano/Michael Connelly
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillipe, William H Macy, Marisa Tomei, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña, Frances Fisher, Bryan Cranston, Josh Lucas, Bob Gunton, Michael Paré

It's the kind of movie that might have been really good in the late 90s, but it's just too little too late to impress now. When there are so many films offering so many different ideas a studio thriller about a lawyer just feels like it should have been done for TV.

Matthew McConaughey is Michael, the cocky lawyer of the title more interested in his perfect acquittal record than justice, even when he has clients from the nefarious side of the law.

But his latest case might have more too it than he thinks. A young guy (Phillipe in slimy creep mode) from high society is accused of beating up a young hooker and things turn dangerous when Michael's friend and investigator (Macy) is murdered and all sorts of murky goings on come to light, including his scary client's admission that he's guilty of a similar crime on another woman.

I didn't quite understand the client lawyer privilege that stopped McConaughey's character from just going to the police after his client's confessed to murder, but it puts him in an untenable position of having to defend the guy while knowing. It all gets much more convoluted and I got lost a few times. It also suffers Lord of the Rings syndrome – every time you think it's over there's a new, higher-stakes climax and it ends up feeling a little bit long winded.

It's good to see McConaughey do something where he's not coasting on his cheeky smile and washboard abs but a better plot would have helped, as would more attractive film stock. The picture on screen is acidic and ugly, every scar and blemish on faces and skin bought into sharp relief.

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