Ah, a meaty
for Matthew McConaughey. And he knows
what to do with it. He plays Mick
Haller, a defense attorney who operates from the back of his Lincoln Town Car,
with uniformed chauffeur. He deals with
rough-looking motorcycle gangs. He
defends people caught with drugs. He
has a bit of a drinking problem. His
personal life is kind of a mess, complicated by gray relationships.
But he’s smart and he has heart, and deals with the rest as best as
he can, so we have no problem identifying with him and rooting for him.
The problem is when has to defend someone who really is a violent,
manipulative scumbag, and worst of all, he’s getting away with it.
Ryan Philippe plays Louis Roulet, who
grew up a spoiled rich kid and now as an adult thinks he can do anything
with impunity, and his Mommy---and her money---will clean up the mess for
him. He hires Mick Haller because he
seems just seedy enough to take the money and not ask too many questions.
But Haller is hearing an alarm bell that he can’t turn off even if
he tries. And he doesn’t like being
lied to by his clients, or being played for a fool by anyone.
Haller was married, once, to one of
the attorneys at the D.A. office, Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei).
They now have one of those complicated post-marital relationships
where they have to communicate about child care (for their daughter), but
though they know they can’t live together successfully, there’s enough
shared personal history that they still care for each other.
And sometimes they choose to express that caring inappropriately.
At least it’s inappropriate in front of their daughter, who’s
confused enough as it is.
There are some good, hard-edged
secondary performances here---by the likes of William H. Macy and John
Leguizamo---and the kind of root-for-the-underdog story that pleases
audiences, if they can develop some affection for the character.
And here, in “The Lincoln Lawyer,” they can.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Co-Pastor,
United Presbyterian Church,