Monday 11 April 2011

Movie Review: The Lincoln Lawyer

Wow. Now here's a movie you can sink your teeth into. No science fiction, no fantasy, no suspension of belief to accept some out of the world premise. No, this is just a great story and a great cast giving you a riveting who-done-it mystery. I loved it. Am I gushing?

Clocking in at 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, I'm not the only one praising this cinematic oeuvre. Without too much of plot spoiler, I give you a quickie synopsis.

Mickey Haller played by Matthew McConaughey is a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who, in an oddball twist of the character, operates out of the back of his Lincoln sedan as he is chauffeured because of a DUI. Haller is always on the go defending garden-variety criminals, but this all changes when he lands the biggest case ever: defending a Beverly Hills playboy accused of rape and attempted murder. However, as the situation develops, the straightforward turns out to be not so straightforward and Hallar finds himself fighting for survival.

Okay, great movie, great filming, great cast, great acting; all the nuts and bolts stuff is there. But as I have repeated as of late, you have to have a good story. No story? No amount of special effects or whatever is going to save you. If you don't believe me, take a look at any of the films whose rating is 20% or lower on Rotten Tomatoes.

Credit to John Romano who wrote the screenplay but let's talk about Michael Connelly, the author of the book. Who is this guy? Never heard of him. Then again, that's probably not the fault of Connelly having a low profile; it's probably due to me being out of touch.

According to Wikipedia, the career of Mr. Connelly seems to have given him the basis for being who is today: Michael Connelly (born July 21, 1956, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American author of detective novels and other crime fiction, notably those featuring LAPD Detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch. Starting in 1980 upon graduating from the University of Florida, he worked as a reporter, specifically a crime beat reporter. He moved to Los Angeles in 1987 and continued this work while managing to write his first novel in 1992. He continued working and wrote another 3 books before quitting work to write full-time. As of this writing, it appears Mr. Connelly has 24 books under his belt as well as some short stories. And along with those 24 books go a number of awards for mystery writing.

I'm a fan of the TV series Castle and note that Connelly occasionally makes guest appearances as himself in the ABC comedy/drama TV series Castle. Along with Stephen J. Cannell and James Patterson, he is one of Castle's poker buddies.

Mickey Hallar
There is one point about the main character that deserves mention. He's smart; he's good; and he always seems to know what he's doing: a bit of a smartass. He's in charge; he's got control and he's knows it. I have to chuckle as this is the type of guy you like as a character and the type of guy you'd hate in real life. He would intimidate the heck out of you and you'd gate him for it. But in the movie, you just love watching him deal with various people including a gang of bikers. He's good; yes, he's really good.

The Ex-Wife
I had to add this little tidbit from the movie. An interesting sidebar to the main story is Hallar's on-going relationship with his ex-wife, played by Marisa Tomei, who is a prosecuting attorney. They sort of work together but the main thing is that they have a daughter together and they both appear very devoted to her. In one scene when Hallar brings his daughter home to her mother and hands the sleeping child off to mom:

Margaret McPherson: At least we did one thing right.

Mickey Hallar: We did a couple.

It's curious that one night, after some time in a bar, they end up going to bed together. However, in the morning there is an edgy exchange of words which may explain why the two of them decided to get a divorce.

Trailer #1

Trailer #2

Final Word
This is a well executed film; I loved it. As I said, no science fiction, this is down to earth slice of real life type of fiction. Matthew McConaughey did an ace job and the rest of the cast backed him up superbly. Go out and see this. It's well worth the popcorn.


Rotten Tomatoes: The Lincoln Lawyer: 83%
It doesn't offer any twists on the predictable courtroom thriller formula, but with a charming Matthew McConaughey leading its solid cast, The Lincoln Lawyer offers briskly enjoyable entertainment.

Wikipedia: The Lincoln Lawyer (film)
The Lincoln Lawyer is a 2011 American crime drama film adapted from the novel of the same name by Michael Connelly, starring Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe and Marisa Tomei. The film is directed by Brad Furman, with a screenplay written by John Romano. It was released on March 18, 2011.

Wikipedia: The Lincoln Lawyer (book)
The Lincoln Lawyer is the 16th novel by American crime writer Michael Connelly and the first featuring Los Angeles attorney Mickey Haller, half-brother of Connelly's mainstay detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch.

Wikipedia: Mickey Haller (main character of The Lincoln Lawyer)
Michael "Mickey" Haller, Junior is literary character created by Michael Connelly in the 2005 novel The Lincoln Lawyer. Haller, a Los Angeles-based defense attorney is the paternal half-brother of Connelly's primary character, LAPD Detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch. The Mickey Haller series consists of four published novels, with the most recent published in April 2011.

Wikipedia: Michael Connelly
Michael Connelly (born July 21, 1956, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American author of detective novels and other crime fiction, notably those featuring LAPD Detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch. His books, which have been translated into 35 languages, have garnered him many awards. Connelly was the President of the Mystery Writers of America from 2003 to 2004.

official web site: Michael Connelly


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Molly @ Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce said...

I'm going to check it out on your recommendation. Yes, sometimes exes do get along. They even might still be attracted to each other, but they know it won't work.

Thomas said...

I really enjoyed it. Not the deepest film ever but there was more than enough to keep me interested for the full two hours. I'm also interested in Connelly's books now. It seemed like these characters would work better on paper where they can get the development that they really deserve.