In his latest film, Matthew McConaughey stars as Mick Haller, aka "The Lincoln Lawyer," so named because his office is a Lincoln Continental driven by a former client paying off a debt. As his NTGUILTY license plate suggests, Haller is a defense attorney who infuriates his assistant district attorney ex-wife, Margaret (Marisa Tomei), and just about every cop on the LAPD with his willingness to represent anybody.
Haller is sought out by Louis Roulet, scion of a wealthy real estate family, who stands accused of assault and rape, in a case that appears to be a simple matter of he said-she said, with "he" being a rich white guy, the "she" a Latino prostitute—so of course there's more to this than meets the eye.
Mercifully, director Brad Furman doesn't waste a lot of time trying to keep you guessing about Roulet's guilt or innocence—this is a terrible thing to say a bout a person, but Ryan Phillipe just looks guilty—instead focusing on how exactly Haller is going to see that justice is done without getting disbarred.
Furman tries to paint Haller as some morally dubious force in the justice system, showing him strong-arming pot farmers and shaking down biker gangs. Yet watching Haller try to game the system, one can’t help but think, "Isn’t that the job?" Ironically, it's not until the end, when Haller tries making everything right that he goes off the rails ethically.
A very long time ago, it seemed like McConaughey had a chance to be a major movie star, in his youth his good looks, blue eyes and easy charm drew comparisons to Paul Newman. Somewhere along the line, he agreed to make "The Wedding Planner," and all hope was lost. But here he gets a little bit of his mojo back, playing the type of conflicted anti-hero that only a guy that handsome can pull off.
It's the journey, not the destination, goes the old saying, and that's the case with "The Lincoln Lawyer." You know McConaughey is going get from point A to point B, you just can't figure out how—all you can do is sit back and watch.
"The Lincoln Lawyer" comes out today on Blu-ray, DVD and a combo-pack that includes a digital download copy, deleted scenes, and three featurettes: "The Making of", "At Home on the Road" with author Michael Connelly, and "One on One" with McConaughey and Connelly.