Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Josh Lucas, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, John Leguizamo, William H. Macy

Director: Brad Furman

Writer(s): John Romano, Michael Connelly (novel)

Cinematography: Lukas Ettlin

Original Score: Cliff Martinez

Running Time: 119 Mins.

Back in the early 90’s legal thrillers were ten-a-penny, The Firm, A Few Good Men, The Client, The Pelican Brief...the list goes on though one of THE stand-out legal thrillers was undoubtedly 1995’s A Time To Kill. That film starred a fresh-faced Matthew McConaughey, proving his mettle as a solid actor and a great (and hugely dynamic) screen presence, something of a coup to make your mark amidst a cast that included Samuel L. Jackson,Sandra Bullock and both Kiefer and Donald Sutherland. Alas he followed with a few good roles but nothing that really capitalised on that debut and more recently appearing in a series of decreasing-in-quality rom-coms such as How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Failure to Launch, even his attempts at a franchise with Sahara was scuppered as a flop.

Fast forward a few years following a short hiatus from our screens and McConaughey is back to the legal thriller with The Lincoln Lawyer, based on Michael Connelly’s best-seller, a film that marks a return to form for both actor and genre. This is a none more 90’s film in the best possible way, harking back to the star vehicle (less and less common these days where franchise is king) and a glossy twisty legal thriller that takes place more out of the court-room than it does in, with twists, red herrings and a fantastic support cast, here’s hoping that the success of The Lincoln Lawyer can ignite more cases!

But before I get too carried away this is far from perfect, there are gaping plot holes (a staple of the genre) some hackneyed twists that you can see coming and one or two OOT performances along with the obligatory scenes of McConaughey all too suddenly making that breakthrough discovery and the scene where he gets drunk and dishevelled for dramatic effect before realising said breakthrough.Other than these minor hurdles it would seem churlish to criticise a film any further than seeks simply to entertain and thrill in equal measure, something that it (perhaps surprisingly) achieves with aplomb.

Mick Haller (McConaughey) is a high-flying lawyer, working out the back of the titular Lincoln he revels in reaping the (cash) rewards from keeping the more of ten than not bad guys on the streets, even sporting a number plate that reads NTGUILTY this is a man who begins the film apparently devoid of morals, one heck of a unlikeable guy in the wrong hands but having him played by the easy-going and smooth talking McConaughey gives Haller a much-needed level of charm and ultimately, likeability. Obviously throughout the film he discovers the error of his ways via a case that sees the smarmy and creepy (cast to perfection) Ryan Phillippe as a man accused of rape and battery on a prostitute. The face of scenes between the male leads are dynamic and show that both men are capable of much more than often given credit for, the game of cat and mouse played is very reminiscent of the Anthony Hopkins starring Fracture an equally old-school thriller.

Bolstered up by the likes of William H. Macy (as the obligatory P.I.), Marisa Tomei (the “ex”-wife) and Brian Cranston (the hard-faced cop), all stereotypical of the genre but all spot-on and cast to perfection, Macy in particular is a joy to watch. All these elements come together nicely and make for as solid and involving film, no it won’t change the face of cinema and no it doesn’t break any boundaries but what it does, it does well and apart from anything else it is nice to see a bona-fide star proving his worth…it’s a shame he is a touch too old to have played Captain America, I have always championed McConaughey as a smooth talking and charismatic fit for that most-american of roles.

VERDICT

The Lincoln Lawyer breaks no rules and doesn’t stray from legal-thriller formula, but what it does do it does very well and with an overdue and on-form McConaughey front and centre here’s hoping he finally has his frnachise for seeing Mick Haller taking on more cases would help prolong this fun 90’s legal revival.

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