Movies Based on Books: The Lincoln Lawyer

4.0 out of 5 starsThe Haller essence

Matthew McConaughey proves he’s not just a pretty face in The Lincoln Lawyer. It’s difficult to translate books to the silver screen, and this is no exception. Based upon the novel by John Connelly, the movie lacks the heart that enlivened the written version. It does do justice, however, to the character of Mickey Haller, a smart, fast-talking defense attorney who knows all the tricks and doesn’t hesitate to play them. Kind of a conman with a conscience, if you can picture that. I wondered about the choice of Mcconaughey to play Mick, but I’m happy to report that he captured the Haller essence. His client, a rich boy accused of assaulting a working girl, will pay very well indeed if exonerated, but Mick senses there’s more to these accusations than meets the eye. A mature Marisa Tomei portrays Mickey’s ex, and while she handles well the material she’s given, the nature of their relationship (still loving each other) does not come through. William H. Macy shines as Haller’s investigator, as does Laurence Mason, the chauffeur with a keen mind. Michael Pena, a now-incarcerated former client (you can’t win ’em all) makes the most of the few key scenes in which he appears, forwarding the momentum of the plot.  But this is McConaughey’s show, and if his performance here is anything to go by, his career should be taking off from here on out. As should director Brad Furman’s.

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