LINCOLN LAWYER—Directed by Brad Furman. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe/scriptwriter: John Romano from a novel by Michael Connelly/1hr59min/rated R
(B) I viewed this film on a cold, rainy day. It was a perfect day for this kind of movie: A compelling drama with just enough suspense to keep you rapt. Finally, a vehicle for Matthew McConaughey to really sink his teeth into, and he really showed off his acting chops as a legal eagle. This was quite a departure from his usual romantic comedies, but his sarcastic wit, fit well with the character as well. In one memorable scene in particular for me, Matthew's stare at his client (and the camera) was a penetrating laser beam that burned right through me. It was sooooo sweet, man. McConaughey’s co-stars were also great in their supporting roles. Bill Macy, as Matthew’s investigative assistant hits the mark as well as Marisa Tomei in the role of Matthew’s ex-wife. Ryan Phillippe takes on the role as the “star” client with a duel personality. Ryan does well at playing the innocent, but leaves a lot to be desired in his representation of his evil-face. He played it a bit too soft for me. Other than that small criticism, I have no objections to this film. I loved it! I give it three and a half binoculars.
(G) This was a good, old-fashioned court room, crime drama in the tradition of L.A. Confidential, or A Few Good Men. In other words, I also loved it. There were just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and it followed the “old school” scriptwriting style that is required for good story-telling. As a script it was well done and well performed with multiple plot-lines and fulfilled format expectations right down to being almost exactly two hours in length. The beauty of this (an example of a good) mystery thriller was that the audience “knew” some of the details that were not being revealed in the courtroom scenes and were engaged therefore in trying to figure out how this fascinating tale, with great characters was all going to be resolved. As for the details, nothing was wasted. There was no fat, no unnecessary scenes. This becomes apparent the farther one gets into the movie, but each detail is revealed with a casualness that draws you into the web ever further. I have not been this pleasantly surprised for a long time, not as I was with The King’s Speech, but for the simple fact that I love a well-told story. In movies, of course there is more to success than the script (such as the portrayals and the delivery of the dialogue, as Barbara pointed out) but let’s face it. As the writer’s saying goes: You can make a bad movie out of a good script, but you can’t make good movie out of a bad script. I recommend this one on several levels and give it four binoculars. I guess that gives us a Bifocal Review of 3 and ¾.