The Lincoln Lawyer is Rated R for some violence, sexual content and language. I would recommend this movie for “Mature” audiences and certainly not any children or teenagers under 16. There isn’t any explicit nudity but the language is something of concern. Any well written movie in my opinion “flirts” with real life while shielding us from the “nitty gritty” of how corrupt it can be. This movie does a great job of doing that especially knowing how it could have “glorified” certain personality traits people exhibit these days.
In many of the movie descriptions it begins with saying the defense lawyer Mick Haller works out of his car. Although the opening scene depicts him interacting with several people from his car, he has an apartment and is not shown much in the car for the rest of the movie. I think the “Lincoln” is more of a gimmick rather than a premise. It is a little disappointing that the title makes such a big deal out of “doing business” from his car when no explanation is given for the reason. That’s what makes me feel duped into watching because the premise seems interesting only to find out it is not important.
The real premise of this movie is “who dun it” and although it is carefully constructed to “mislead” the watcher, we are cleverly distracted from some of the side points that make this movie interesting. I believe the old adage that “everything’s already been done” and this movie proves that point but the writers are clever to use misdirection in a way that is not often done which makes the movie feel more original than usual. The direction and editing makes the movie move along quickly as well with little character development that isn’t necessary to the story line. I especially like how I began to find Mick affable despite that he is defending an accused rapist. This gives the movie a foundation for wanting Mick to “find his way” in this mystery.
The acting talents of McConaughey can be hit or miss in his movies since he comes across as a typecast actor in many roles. His confidence is difficult to hide even in his acting and although arrogant in some films he pulls off “smart” rather than arrogant in this film. I also appreciated seeing William H. Macy in this film. Although he is touted as an amazing actor by many, he doesn’t seem to get many roles that are very emotional, and in this one he was a cool as a cucumber. What I find amazing about him though is that he defines his character with such subtle changes that although he does not stand out as a supporting actor (as he shouldn’t) he does create a new persona for his character. Ryan Phillippe is an up and coming actor that is proving his talents as his opportunities grow. He portrays the defendant Louis Roulet in this film who is the son of a wealthy family dominated by his mother. A playboy and master manipulator Louis is the prodigy of his mother in this reverse Oedipus look alike. He masterfully portrays his character as someone who knows how to get what he wants which propels him on my list of admirable actors.
Some of my complaints about this film though are that the character of Maggie McPherson seems to have little to do with Mick and his motivation. The unresolved conflicts between them seem to have had a bigger purpose in the writers mind but the editing floor must have scooped up that purpose. I would have liked to see an ending that had more to do with a happily ever after since we are drawn to like Mick so much by the end of the movie as the unlikely hero. The surprises in the story line are well enough composed, however if I’m watching a movie to be “invested” in the characters as the writer wants me to I have no where to go when the emphasis is shifted to justice being the motif rather than reconciliation. I still would recommend this movie though for the fact that it shows us that despite the things that people do for money, when truth is presented and the people we care about are involved, character will prevail and justice is the main goal for all of us. Sometimes it takes our own comfort being disrupted to help us see what is important and that our soul should not be for sale any more.
My next review will be “The Adjustment Bureau.”