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Review: The Lincoln Lawyer

Attorney Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is not your typical lawyer, he operates his business out of the back of a black Lincoln. Mick's driver rumbles across Los Angeles, while he dabbles here and there representing biker gangs, drug users, and various court room occupants.

Mick's reputation precedes him in the court room, prosecutors and judges know him to be the heavy hitter working for big bucks, clients know him to be their saving grace. What most don't know about Mick is his biggest fear is an innocent client. He came across one once and that didn't go well, apathy has proven to be Mick's best friend since. In a lot of ways McConaughey and his Lincoln Lawyer character Mick Haller are quite similar. Both are very talented, but have skated by for the last several years doing lesser work.

With Mick's latest client, the stakes are higher now. An opportunity for major money has presented itself in the form of a Newport yuppie charged with attempted murder. Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) refuses to take a deal, plea out, or go to prison. His innocence is proclaimed early and often.

When facts come to light that Louis is not what he seems the film could take a predictable path, but to the film's credit, the cliche'd revenge tale is avoided. What we are offered instead is a much more interesting presentation of consequences.

Matthew McConaughey. For many years the tagline of his films could have been "have abs, will travel." His performances in Lone Star and A Time to Kill were something to file under Actor to Look For, but then the Kate Hudson team-ups happened. He was still charismatic in those films, but the interest just wasn't there.

It may just be because McConaughey is getting older, but he seems to want the challenge of stretching himself as an actor again.

A majority of Lincoln Lawyer's success is also due to the other actors of the supporting cast (veterans Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy and Josh Lucas). Tomei is particularly entertaining as Mick's ex-wife and frequent verbal sparring partner.

The Lincoln Lawyer is based on Michael Connelly's series of novels by the same name, but this isn't just another bestseller adaptation. This is solid entertainment. Legal thrillers are rarely as entertaining as this and watching McConaughey embody a character battling through the moral greys of the legal system leaves hope that his career resurgence holds course.

***/****

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