Who doesn’t love courtroom dramas? The sheer episode mass Law & Order has generated is surely evidence enough of our population’s hunger for seeing mystery stories played out. Why were the original Sherlock Holmes stories so satisfying? There’s something about seeing a hero outsmart bad guys, weasel their way out of impossible situations, against all odds, and almost always be five steps ahead. In “The Lincoln Lawyer,” Matthew McConaughey plays a smooth Mickey Haller, who alternates between charm and cheat.
Haller is kind of a sleaze, at first glance; he operates with local bike gangs out of his Lincoln (hence the title), he pays people to make him look impressive, he defends guilty men that other people won’t touch. However, we see his driver’s loyalty, we see his ex-wife and daughter, and we see him struggle with the guilt that comes in his line of work. The best part of this story is easily Haller’s character; little details make him seem real: his license plate is “NT GUILTY,” and for such an arrogant jerk, he’s strangely charismatic.
The story has a pretty good setup – Haller is hired to defend the son of a wealthy family. Initially assuming his innocence, Haller comes across evidence to suggest otherwise, and complications arise. There are of course ties to an old case that had long been closed, and there’s one interesting scene where our arrogant protagonist, who goes throughout the whole movie without hesitating, doubts himself. This sliver of doubt is the most powerful and compelling part of the whole film, much more important than who wins the case or who killed who, and it’s for this single moment that I would recommend the movie.
Overall, 3.5/5 – “The Lincoln Lawyer” is a simple, satisfying sort of film with a strong lead character. The story itself gives some good twists and turns, but overall, it’s just not that impressive when television shows can accomplish the same sort of feat in half the time.