DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Brad Furman
Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña, Trace Adkins
Writing Credits:
John Romano, Michael Connelly (novel)

In the gripping thriller The Lincoln Lawyer, Matthew McConaughey stars as Michael “Mick” Haller, a slick, charismatic Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who operates out of the back of his Lincoln Continental sedan. Having spent most of his career defending petty, gutter- variety criminals, Mick unexpectedly lands the case of a lifetime: defending a rich Beverly Hills playboy (Ryan Phillippe) who is accused of attempted murder. However, what initially appears to be a straightforward case with a big money pay-off swiftly develops into a deadly match between two masters of manipulation and a crisis of conscience for Haller.

Box Office:
$40 million.
Opening Weekend
$13.206 million on 2707 screens.
Domestic Gross
$57.626 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital EX 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 119 min.
Price: $29.95
Release Date: 7/12/2011

• “Making the Case: Creating The Lincoln Lawyer” Featurette
• “Michael Connelly: At Home on the Road” Featurette
• “One on One with McConaughey and Connelly” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 6, 2011)

When I reviewed 2009’s Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, I accused Matthew McConaughey of intense cinematic laziness. Over his career, he’s tended toward cocky characters who take their shirts off with regularity and who display little personality beyond a self-confident charm.

On the surface, 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer represented a potential departure from that formula, so I was curious to give it a look. Set in LA, attorney Mick Haller (McConaughey) who earns the sobriquet “The Lincoln Lawyer” because he does all his business from his car; he stays on the go and mainly represents a variety of standard issue thugs and miscreants.

Haller senses a chance to move up in the world when he gloms onto the defense of Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a wealthy man accused of beating Regina Campo (Margarita Levieva), a babe he claims he met in a bar. Roulet protests his innocence and claims that he’s being set up for money. Campo states otherwise, of course, so Haller digs into an attempt to find the truth, defend his client, and deal with a variety of complications.

When I state that Lawyer presents a somewhat alternate take on the stands McConaughey MO, I can’t say this with enormous confidence. Haller often falls into the normal McConaughey domain, meaning that he’s cocky and strong-willed. However, Haller comes to show more self-doubt than most of McConaughey’s other roles, so there’s more depth to the role than usual. Heck, Matt even keeps his shirt on the whole time!

This means that we shouldn’t expect revelations from McConaughey, but the moderate complexity of the role allows him to give a more solid performance than we normally find. McConaughey benefits from a surprisingly rich supporting cast as well. In addition to Phillippe, we find talents like Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, Bryan Cranston, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña and Frances Fisher. A strong roster like that almost automatically adds validity to a project, and all of them do nice work. Some seem better than others, of course – Macy is particularly fun – but all help give the movie a bit more of a warm sheen.

The key to the movie’s success stems from its story, though, and that’s an area in which it does pretty well. I’ve always enjoyed courtroom dramas, and Lincoln delivers a plot with many entertaining complications. Questions of guilt and innocence abound, and we’re left wondering where Haller’s job – and his conscience – will take him. This means the film follows a windy path but not an unnecessarily distacting one. We take a good ride as we wait to see if justice will be served.

Lawyer doesn’t reinvent any particular legal wheels, and it drags when it strays from the legal areas; rather than add humanity, sequences with Haller’s family tend to feel a bit superfluous. Still, those become a minor weakness in an otherwise enjoyable flick. No one will view Lawyer as a classic, but it’s a good courtroom thriller.

Trivia footnote: does anyone else think that the Corliss character’s look is a wink toward Dead Man Walking?

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C

The Lincoln Lawyer appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This was a pretty good transfer.

Sharpness was reasonably strong. Some softness affected wider shots, but those moments of haziness were minor when I accounted for the limitations of SD-DVD. Overall definition seemed quite nice. I noticed no issues with jaggies or shimmering, and edge haloes weren’t a factor. The movie also failed to provide any source defects, as it always remained clean.

Colors were fine. The movie opted for a fairly golden tint, so hues didn’t boast great vivacity, but they were more than adequate. Blacks seemed fairly deep and dense, while shadows showed nice clarity. This was a solid SD presentation.

One wouldn’t expect fireworks from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of a movie like Lincoln Lawyer, and the movie came with a pretty subdued mix. That was fine, though, and the movie leapt to life reasonably well when necessary. A few thriller-oriented scenes boasted decent breadth and involvement, and the track always provided a good sense of environment. There wasn’t much here to stand out, but the track used the spectrum in a fairly satisfying manner.

Audio quality was positive. Speech appeared natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music seemed full and rich, while effects worked fine. They sounded accurate and clear. Nothing excelled here, but the track suited the film.

In terms of extras, we find three featurettes. Making the Case: Creating The Lincoln Lawyer runs 13 minutes, 40 seconds and provides notes from author Michael Connelly, producers Gary Lucchesi and Tom Rosenberg, screenwriter John Romano, director Brad Furman, and actors Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, Josh Lucas, Michael Peña, William H. Macy, and John Leguizamo. The program looks at the source novel and its adaptation, bringing Furman onto the project, cast, characters and performances, and locations. “Making” lacks much depth – and comes with lots of spoilers, so don’t watch it before you see the flick – but it provides some nice details and gives us a decent feel for the production.

Michael Connelly: At Home on the Road goes for 10 minutes, 15 seconds as it gives us thoughts from the author. He takes us around LA and tells us more about the story and his work on it. We find a tight take on these topics and an enjoyable featurette.

Finally, One on One with McConaughey and Connelly lasts five minutes, 27 seconds and provides a chat between the author and the actor. They discuss the lead character and McConaughey’s take on him as well as the adaptation. They throw out a few fun notes but the show’s too short to tell us much.

Four Deleted Scenes fill a total of four minutes, nine seconds. We find “Check It Out” (1:14), “Good Night” (0:55), “The Car Is Fun” (1:16) and “Officer Maxwell” (0:44). The first three give us a little more about Haller’s family life; I thought the final flick already had too much of that, so I was glad they got the boot. “Maxwell” is a short courtroom clip that’s not useless but wouldn’t have added anything.

A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Conan the Barbarian, Warrior, The Next Three Days, The Conspirator and Crash. These show up under Also From Lionsgate but we don’t get a trailer for Lawyer.

15 years after Matthew McConaughey came to prominence with A Time to Kill, he returns to the courtroom format in The Lincoln Lawyer. It’s not a completely successful enterprise, but it does much more right than wrong and becomes McConaughey’s best leading role in quite some time. The DVD provides very good picture, pretty positive audio and a smattering of supplements. Fans of legal dramas should give this one a look.

Viewer Film Ratings: 5 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main