Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer (Rhoades)

“The Lincoln Lawyer” Keeps to Legal Limit
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

No, this isn’t a movie about the lawyering days of Abraham Lincoln. “The Lincoln Lawyer” is a legal thriller about an eccentric character called Michael “Mickey” Haller. He’s a Los Angeles lawyer who works out of the back of his Lincoln Town Car, driven around by a former client who’s working off his legal fees.

“The Lincoln Lawyer” is currently making its case at the Tropic Cinema.

Based on a crime novel by Michael Connelly (he’s written more than two dozen), this edge-of-your-seat film tells of Haller’s case involving a playboy accused of assault and attempted murder. Not to worry. Haller is a whiz at defending the innocent … and his client is innocent, right?

Well, the question of guilt has to be considered. Particularly when the client’s lies start catching up with him.

And matters get even more complicated when you discover that the tough-minded prosecuting attorney Haller faces is (you guessed it) his ex-wife.

Matthew McConaughey stars as the chisel-chinned lawyer in a Lincoln. You’ve enjoyed his bare-chested performances in films ranging from “Dazed and Confused” to “We Are Marshall,” even the ersatz Key West comedy “Fool’s Gold.”

The lawyer’s ex is played by Marisa Tormei. She won the Oscar for “My Cousin Vinny” and has gone on to impress us in films such as “The Wrestler” and “In the Bedroom.”

The bad client is portrayed by Ryan Phillippe (Reece Witherspoon’s ex). You’ve seen him in the Oscar-winning “Crash” and Clint Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers.” And he recently filmed “The Bang-Bang Club,” based on a book I tried to buy the movie rights for several years ago.
Toss in performances by the great William H. Macy (“Fargo,” “The Cooler”) and fresh-faced Josh Lucas (“Sweet Home Alabama,” “Stealth”), plus a reappearance of Michael ParĂ© (“Eddie and the Cruisers,” “Streets of Fire”), and you have an impressive cast.

Michael Connelly, the guy who wrote the book, started off as a crime reporter at Florida’s Daytona Beach News Journal, then moved to the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel. Based on his coverage of the 1985 crash of Delta Flight 119, he was recruited to the Los Angeles Times before jumping off to launch his fiction-writing career.

Connelly’s office-less lawyer has appeared in three novels, but is described as the half-brother of Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch, the writer’s lead character in 16 of his popular police procedurals.

“I think people who love books go into the films based on them with a lot of apprehension. What will be lost? Will the spirit of the story still be there?” says Michael Connelly. “I’m the guy who wrote this book and I really feel they captured it, that they did a great job. When I walked out of the screening room I was smiling, I just really could not be happier. I think Matthew has done a wonderful job of capturing Mickey Haller. He had a fervor for this part, he really seemed to connect with Mickey and to know what made him tick.”

Well, good upholstery in the backseat for one thing.

srhoades@aol.com
[from Solares Hill]

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