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March 19, 2011 | 1:44 p.m. CST
A film with a defense attorney and Marisa Tomei as the love interest that’s set primarily in a courtroom with a surprising twist at the end — sound familiar? No, it’s not My Cousin Vinny. The Lincoln Lawyer may have those similarities, but beyond that it’s a much different story with a much taller leading man.
Matthew McConaughey’s character, Mick, is a smooth-talking, conniving attorney, but he seems to have good intentions underneath it all. He takes on a case in the beginning of the film simply because it comes with a big paycheck, but what he doesn’t know is that he was chosen for a specific reason. That reason is the basis of the film’s plot: Attorney client privileges can create a safe environment for a defendant — or, they can create a trap for the attorney.Related Movie
The crime-thriller is set in Los Angeles. With a hip-hop-infused soundtrack, and Mick’s occasional run-ins with a motorcycle gang, the movie will satisfy those who enjoy rough and gritty films, as well as Law and Order fanatics.
The title alludes to the Lincoln Town Car that Mick chauffeurs around as he makes phone calls and organizes his papers. But it’s more of gimmick that provides a catchy title than a contribution to the story. With a license plate that reads NTGUILTY, the car makes for a kitschy addition to McConaughey’s character.
Despite its twists and turns, the plot is predictable at times and follows the prescribed structure of the thriller genre. But the acting redeems the movie. The performances of William H. Macy, Bryan Cranston, Ryan Phillippe and Tomei — as Mick’s ex-wife and a prosecuting attorney — compensate for any of the obvious themes. This without a doubt is a role that Matthew McConaughey pulled off and will be praised for. The emotional struggle he portrays is believable, and he adequately departs from his usual romantic comedy character.