Review: The Lincoln Lawyer
by, 03-08-2011 at 12:09 PM (2589 Views)
Michael Connelly is a bestselling author. I know this because of the amount of times I see his name plastered on book covers that are being engrossed by any of my fellow train passengers as I head to the city each morning. Connelly, J.K. Rowling and Nora Roberts seem to lead the parade as authors of trip pleasing books so it was no surprise when Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer was optioned for a big screen adaptation with A-List stars such as Mathew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei and Ryan Phillippe attached to star.
The Lincoln Lawyer tells the story of Mick Haller (McConaughey), a lawyer in California that conducts business from the back of a Lincoln town car. Mick seems to be a genius in manipulating the system for his client’s benefits and his good-looks and confident swagger seem to endear him to all those whom he crosses paths.
Thanks to a tip from Bail Bondsman Val (John Leguizamo) suggesting a large financial windfall, Mick takes the case Louis Roulet (Phillippe), a rich, Beverly Hills boy who stands accused of badly beating a prostitute.
At first, the case looks like a slam-dunker. Louis is convincing in his plea of innocence and evidence leads Mick and his lead investigator (played by William H. Macy) to simple conclusions that a trial will be fast and in tipped in their favor.
But as Mick grows disillusioned with the prosecutors case (lead by Josh Lucas) he begins to put pieces of the crime puzzle together – pieces that may prove his client is not the innocent framed rich boy he claims.
For a film titled, The Lincoln Lawyer, there is not a lot of lawyering going on in the back of the town car. There is the odd scene where transactions are finalized while Mick sits on his leather chauffer driven interior, but most of the action occurs either in the courtroom or in various rooms where alcohol is readily available to every character.
McConaughey shows us that he can still be considered at serious actor a la A Time To Kill and we are grateful he has slithered his way out of the dumb comedies that have been his staple for the past five years.
But The Lincoln Lawyer fails to engross audiences in a story that is sometimes too predictable and definitely too faithful in characters to the Connelly novel. Phillippe does a good, if not great, job in his Primal Fear type role, but too many other characters are just thrown into the mix (Bryan Cranston, Michael Pena, Michael Pare, Trace Adkins) in roles that were clearly larger in the book form and could have been amalgamated in the screenplay to make better use of time and plot development.
The ending to the film does resolve all outstanding issues, but it still feels hollow. Not only are any and all of the ‘twists’ unsurprising, but they are also lazily realized by director Brad Furman who struggles with the pacing and keeping a two hour movie not feeling like a three-hour time burner.
Not being an avid reader myself, I cannot comment if The Lincoln Lawyer is one of Connelly’s best. I would think otherwise. But until Hollywood again adapts his words, we are left with 2002’s Bloodwork and The Lincoln Lawyer as the forgettable theatrical entries that wasted the allure of A-list talent.