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The Lincoln Lawyer(2011)
A lawyer conducts business from the back of his Lincoln town car while representing a high-profile client in Beverly Hills.
For more about The Lincoln Lawyer and the The Lincoln Lawyer Blu-ray release, see the The Lincoln Lawyer Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on June 23, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña
Director: Brad Furman
» See full cast & crew
The Lincoln Lawyer Blu-ray Review
Jagged Edge Redux.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, June 23, 2011
Do attorneys get a bum rap? The profession is routinely ranked near the top of the most unlikable careers out there, and lawyers are routinely thought to be scheming, smarmy folk with few if any morals. You might be forgiven if that's your initial impression of Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey), the titular character in The Lincoln Lawyer, as he slides through a series of patently oily interchanges with everyone from clients to court personnel as the film opens. And yet there seems to be at least the hint of redemptive grace about the character from the get go as well, and that "decent, if flawed" element is what gives this film its emotional edge, even as the plot works every tried and true courtroom scenario from The Jagged Edge to what I can only compare to a "very special episode" of Perry Mason. Haller is without a doubt a wheeler-dealer, but he's one with at least the glimmer of a conscience, something that is brought to bear when he's hired to defend a spoiled rich brat (Ryan Philippe) who has been accused of seriously beating and attempting to murder a prostitute. Philippe's character Louis Roulet insists he's innocent with such vehemence that Haller actually tends to believe him, despite a career spent defending patently guilty criminals and an overriding fear on the part of Haller that should he ever actually defend an innocent man, he won't be able to recognize that innocence. The Lincoln Lawyer treads a sort of John Grisham-esque world of courtroom intrigue and shifting alliances (the film is based on a novel by Michael Connelly), and while a number of its plot points are completely predictable and overly contrived, there's quite a bit to enjoy, especially with regard to McConaughey's nicely nuanced portrayal, certainly one of the better ones from an actor who has more often than not seemed to be phoning it in in order to pick up a paycheck.
Mickey Haller is the kind of cool cat attorney who, as lugubrious as he undoubtedly is, is chauffered around in a Lincoln Town Car (hence the title of the film), kind of like Amos Burke in his Rolls Royce on the old television series Burke's Law. Mickey doesn't exactly represent high society, at least not to begin with, until a bail bondsman (John Leguizamo) approaches him to tell him there's a high rent client being held in jail and it looks like bail is going to be in the millions. That piques Mickey's interest, and soon he's arranged a high price deal to represent Louis Roulet, while at the same time grifting the Roulets' tony business affairs attorney into thinking there might be media coverage of the event, when the ostensible videographer is actually a buddy of Mickey's helping to bring in a little surreptitious cash. That aptly sums up Mickey's two faced way of doing business, one which the film offers in a sort of laissez faire cavalier way which, while perhaps ethically troubling, is played here mostly for laughs.
What almost immediately becomes apparent, though, is that there's a "he said, she said" controversy brewing between Louis' account of what happened and the prostitute's. Mickey has his long-haired, ex-hippie investigator Frank Levin (William H. Macy) look into the background of both the prostitute and Louis. Louis' officious socialite mother (Frances Fisher) also is lurking in the background, insisting that her good boy could never have done these horrible things of which he's been accused. Within a few days, Mickey comes to the frightening conclusion that he's being played by the Roulets, and he has a start of recognition after having a courtroom "discussion" with an accusatory police investigator that the Roulet case actually has connections to a long ago case Mickey handled, one which may have resulted in an actual innocent man being sentenced to life in prison.
That sets up the tense second act of The Lincoln Lawyer, when Mickey realizes his career and perhaps even his life are in jeopardy. The film ventures into cliché a few times throughout this sequence, as Mickey's estranged wife, an Assistant District Attorney named Maggie (Marisa Tomei), and their young daughter are threatened by one of the bad guys. But The Lincoln Lawyer actually manages to manifest a fair degree of suspense as at least one major character is killed and Mickey finds himself alone, attempting to both simultaneously defend and investigate a man he's come to suspect is a psychopath.
Director Brad Furman does a good job of capturing the sort of back street world in which Mickey often resides, but Furman is too fond of handheld camera tricks, with lots of motion sickness inducing jiggles and quick zooms that are more appropriate to series television than to a glossy thriller like this. Still and all, Furman keeps the pace of the film squarely on track, and he certainly is able to elicit some exceptionally fine performances from the cast.
The third act of the film is probably the most problematic, as too many loose ends are wrapped up too quickly, straining credulity to the breaking point. When Mickey's harried assistant walks in to the trial on cue, carrying a sheaf of papers, one can't help but think of Della Street coming to Perry Mason's rescue and helping to reveal the identity of the real killer. The false notes in these final scenes threaten to completely upset the apple cart, but a couple of viscerally exciting closing sequences, involving a dramatic beating and a couple of shootings, help to rescue the film and get it at least mostly back on track as everything is wound up to a more or less successful conclusion.
The Lincoln Lawyer Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Lincoln Lawyer is presented on Blu-ray with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.35:1. Director Furman utilizes the gritty, grimy, smog strewn environment of Los Angeles to good effect throughout the film, and for the most part this is a very sharp and appealing presentation. The haze which is so endemic to Los Angeles casts some wide shots in a sort of gauzy softness, but the interior work and especially the close-ups reveal really amazing fine detail. Depth of field in the exterior shots is also splendid, offering vistas of miles over the Los Angeles and San Fernando valleys. Colors are sometimes skewed toward the blue end of the spectrum, and a lot of the film is bathed in shadows, but overall the palette is pleasingly robust and very well modulated, and black levels are solid and only rarely crush to even a minor degree. There's some very fine interplay of light and shadow throughout the film, nicely mirroring the duplicitous nature of both Mickey and Louis, and that is captured beautifully on this Blu-ray.
The Lincoln Lawyer Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Somewhat surprisingly, The Lincoln Lawyer is granted a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that may strike some as a bit of unnecessary overkill. While the surrounds are typically active throughout the film, including both the many traveling sequences in and around Mickey's iconic Lincoln, as well as the smaller dialogue scenes both in and out of the courtroom, the level of immersion is typically dependent upon relatively innocuous and subtle environmental sounds. The one time everything swings into robust activity is in some of the raucous source cues which rollick through the soundfield in bluesy abandon. Dialogue is crisp and clear and the "recreation" of the attack in question, as well as some gunshots late in the film, provide at least a moment or two of good, solid LFE.
The Lincoln Lawyer Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Lincoln Lawyer Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
You may remember the famous review when the film version of Bus Stop was released, proclaiming, "Meet Miss Monroe, Actress." Marilyn of course was an icon first and foremost, but that film proved she had an unexpected depth of characterization at her beck and call, given the right material and director. Goodness knows McConaughey is nowhere near being in the same league as Monroe, but The Lincoln Lawyer aptly proves that there's an actual actor behind the pretty boy façade. This is easily McConaughey's finest turn in quite a while, maybe the entire length of his career, and that excellent performance informs the sort of seedy nooks and crannies of Connelly's character and the overall ambience of the film itself. This is certainly no groundbreaking thriller or courtroom drama, and indeed it's more than predictable quite a bit of the time, but the level of performances helps to elevate it and ultimately redeems the film of any passing flaws. Recommended.
The Lincoln Lawyer: Other Editions
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The Lincoln Lawyer Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray - July 12-18 - July 12, 2011
The Lincoln Lawyer may not have been the box office success its producers were hoping for, and it may not win any awards for originality, but if there is one thing today's Blu-ray release of the film does do, is prove that Matthew McConaughey can act. He has been ...
• Lincoln Lawyer Blu-ray - May 9, 2011
Lionsgate will release The Lincoln Lawyer on July 12th in a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack. Based on the bestselling novel by Michael Connelly, the crime thriller follows a charismatic attorney (Matthew McConaughey) who operates out of the back of his Lincoln ...
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