The Lincoln Lawyer [Blu-ray]
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Matthew McConaughey never seems to find his pretty face into respectable dramatic roles. Do you remember the last non-romantic comedy he was in? He's a solid actor when given the opportunity, and The Lincoln Lawyer is a prime example. Playing Mick Haller, a criminal defense attorney with a golden heart, a weakness for booze, and a skewed set of morals, McConaughey gets to stretch his long unused acting chops to bring to life a court room thriller that plays out like one of the best episodes of Law & Order.
Representing alleged criminals isn't an easy thing to do, but Haller knows that most of his clients are guilty, so he doesn't mind taking advantage of their situation to make a few bucks on the side. That said, his biggest fear is letting an innocent man unjustly go to prison. One particular case haunts him, in which he allowed someone to serve a life sentence for murder, knowing they didn't do it. So, when Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), an extremely wealthy playboy, hires Haller to represent him in a case extremely similar to the aforementioned debacle, he signs on, but when some inconsistencies rear their head, Roulet's involvement in an assault against a hooker becomes much more than Haller signed up for.
Sophomore director Brad Furman's stylish thriller throws a series of excellently placed curve balls, thanks to John Romano's smart adaptation of Michael Connelly's novel, The Lincoln Lawyer. The film is carried by a pair of strong leads in McConaughey and Phillippe, and is backed by solid support in Marisa Tomei, who plays Haller's ex-wife, and William H. Macy, who plays his hired detective. Their slow entanglement in this web of double crossers plays out not quite as you'd expect.
Lionsgate's Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo release packs a crisp visual presentation, but it's 7.1 DTS-HD track has some mixing issues early on in the film. During conversation a variety of character's voices chime in at distinctly different volumes, making for a fairly annoying few scenes. Outside of these few scenes, the film sounds great, with noticeable separation, and some aggression in the soundtrack. The disc comes with only a few bonus features, but what is included is worth a watch. “Making The Case” gives some engaging background into how everyone got involved in the picture. “At Home On The Road” is a short feature about the author of the original novel, Michael Connelly, and how he came up with Mick Haller's first story. The last feature, called “One on One”, is a somewhat awkward, but informative conversation between McConaughey and Connelly, in which they discuss each other's reactions to the film, and the story's transformation from book to the big screen. There is three deleted scenes also included along with a series of trailers for upcoming Lionsgate releases.
The Lincoln Lawyer may not pack an intensely memorable punch, but it is an entertaining LA crime story featuring a set of great performances worthy of a light night of popcorn pounding thrills. The Blu-ray home release has some issues, but overall shouldn't detract much from your viewing experience.
--Jordan M. Smith