The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

This film really did make California look like a crap hole.

Tasked with defending rich lothario Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillipe), who’s been charged with assault, lawyer Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) finds himself and his family in danger when he deduces the truth behind this and former cases he’s worked on.

This is based off the 2005 crime best-seller, that I still have not read, but after seeing this, I don’t really think I need to read it.

There’s not nothing new here that we haven’t seen before. The plot plays out like you would expect a courtroom drama to play out, and almost everything that happens seems like it came from some other film of this nature. However, that’s not always a bad thing.

Director Brad Furman keeps this film going at a slick and quick pace. He keeps us interested in this plot because he films this so tightly, that we actually do start to wonder, what exactly is going to happen next. The screenplay written by John Romano goes well with Furman’s direction, because a lot of the twists and turns that this story takes here, actually seem believable and not put on. I love old-style courtroom thrillers, and this brought me back to the good old days of when you could just sit back, and watch a crime be solved right in front of  your eyes.

My main complaint with this film is that I didn’t like how this was shot. Furman uses a very dirty look that was trying to show California in a crap way, but instead just seemed dumb and intentional to show how much of a crap hole it can look like. It looks gritty for the sake of looking gritty and this just seemed put-on.

I think Mick Haller is the perfect role for Matthew McConaughey, and he actually pulls it off real well. It’s been awhile since McConaughey has actually head-lined a “good” film, probably because he’s been too busy with those shitty romantic comedies, but this role was a good reminder as to why he doesn’t always have to do them. He’s smug and cocky but at the same time, determined to get his job done in any way possible. McConaughey does a wonderful and believable job as Haller, and has me hoping he’ll continue to take roles like this in the future. The rest of the supporting cast is awesome. Ryan Phillipe is very evil and vindictive as Louis Roulet, who as time goes on, becomes a very, very bad kid. Marisa Tomei also pops up and does a good job as Maggie, and let’s not forget William H. Macy who is always a sight to see, and is not different here as Frank. The rest of this great cast is filled with the likes of John Leguizamo, Michael Peña, Josh Lucas, and Frances Fisher.

Consensus: The Lincoln Lawyer doesn’t offer anything new to the courtroom thriller genre, but a well-paced story, with interesting mystery, and great acting from the cast, keep this somewhat predictable film, entertaining enough.



  1. ‘The plot plays out like you would expect a courtroom drama to play out, and almost everything that happens seems like it came from some other film of this nature’. I agree with that completely, and yet it still surprised and entertained me, even though for the first 20 minutes I was going: ‘oh come on, that is so stupid and stereotypical’, I just didn’t buy it at first. But you are so right when you say this was the perfect role for McConaughey, he is suits the character so well and is very convincing and charming. I think the rest of the cast pulls this up from being a bad generic crime drama, to a half-decent generic crime drama. It was well directed as you say because even though the twists and turns are sooo obvious, when they happen you aren’t waiting for them because you are just caught up in the story. I was planning to do a review of this at one point but you’ve said pretty much exactly what I wanted to say about the film so there’s really not much else left to add except: good review Dan!

    • It’s your ordinary courtroom thriller, but it works because of the cast and the screenplay that gets it through all the predictability. Thanks man!

  2. I agree that McConaughey really pushed this movie from the ordinary to the entertaining. A good supporting cast helped, too. I really enjoyed it.

  3. This has really endured nicely at the box office making it almost a minor blockbuster. Guess people like to see McConaughey playing a lawyer. I will check this out on Netflix.

    • It’s good stuff, and I was surprised because it had that sort of made-for-tv feel, but I guess people still wanna see him. Check it out my mans!

  4. I think he wanted the clientele from the area to look bad, not the entire state. Scenes at Phillipe’s home were quite nice.

  5. I’ve got this one in my viewing bin at the mo, so will probably be posting a review myself shortly. Some nice insights and I’m intrigued to see what you mean by this dirty look of the film, as I’m a big fan of 70’s American cinema, which, with stuff like Serpico and Dirty Harry, tended toward making things like pretty scuzzy and sleazy.

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