- Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo
- Director: Brad Furman
- Format: 4K, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, Spanish
- Dubbed: French, Spanish
- Number of discs: 2
- Rated: R
- Studio: LIONSGATE
- Release Date: August 15, 2017
- Run Time: 119 minutes
The Lincoln Lawyer is a mildly entertaining courtroom thriller, which doesn’t actually spend much time in court. Instead the film relies on many twists and turns of the plot, along with extreme personality traits of the characters, to keep the plot moving forward. Somehow this works in making for an entertaining, albeit slightly predictable, thriller. The decision to rely on the charisma of the cast rather than strengths of the screenplay, however, results in plot developments don’t hold up to repeat viewings. Even in the first viewing of the film, the audience is likely to be less surprised at the revelations of the story than the characters within them. While this may make for mildly distracting viewing, it is hardly an argument for owning the film on home video, much less 4K Ultra HD.
Matthew McConaughey leads up the cast of talented actors deserving of better material. We already know from the past that McConaughey can play a slick lawyer, but Mickey Haller is a different role from A Time to Kill, less nuanced and emotionally resonant. Haller is the top criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, doing most of his business out of the back of his Lincoln Town Car. I’m not sure where he is driving to when he is doing all of this business, but somehow he is always easily found by a group of bikers that make up a large portion of his repeat business. With the help of his investigator friend (William H. Macy), Haller gets criminals out of trouble with unconventional methods, hens the ability to practice out of the backseat of a luxury vehicle rather than an office or a courtroom.
The latest case that Haller pulls in seems simple at first, involving a rich young man named Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) accused of assaulting a prostitute. The more Haller and his investigator dig into the case, the more complicated it becomes. At first Haller just seems shocked that he is defending a man who may actually be guilty, which absurdly seems to be a first for him, but then he discovers that there are connections to a past case, as well as suspicions for why he was chosen in the first place. The cat and mouse game begins, quickly making The Lincoln Lawyer feel as though it was modeled after Primal Fear. Soon Haller finds himself in danger of more than just losing his case, and this turns from a courtroom drama into a straight-up thriller.
As a thriller, the film works far better than any of the legal elements within it. Much of the movie will be spent guessing who is playing who, taking away much enjoyment out of repeat viewings. The cast is what elevates the film beyond the average suspense film, emotionally connecting the audience enough to forgive the gaps of logic within the screenplay. It also must be mentioned that while the premise of the film seemed ridiculous when it was released in 2011, it may now feel like an extension of McConaughey’s commercials for the title vehicles. At best, the film is often filmed like a blandly glossy car commercial, and occasionally runs the risk of feeling like a parody of the actual commercials that he now does for the company.
Because the film is often filmed like a commercial, the 4K Ultra HD certainly looks crisp and clean, but not in a way that adds anything to the film other than enhancement of some of the more blatant product placement to appear on film in recent years. Sure, the sound is great, the color is deep and immersive, and there is a wide color spectrum, but that doesn’t do much to help the film. It isn’t even a movie that seems to demand the polished look it has in standard definition, much less this premium presentation. Maybe there are some huge fans of the movie who will appreciate it, or just those who want to see McConaughey in as much detail as is currently available, but most will find the upgrade unnecessary for this particular film.
The 4K package includes a copy of the Blu-ray disc as well, not to mention a code for the Digital HD copy. The special features are the same as they were for the original Blu-ray and DVD releases, though they have also been added to the 4K disc for this release. There is a promotional making-of featurette, along with two additional featurettes and a handful of deleted scenes. The first featurette is a ten minute driving tour of the Los Angeles locations, with novelist Michael Connelly (who wrote the book this film is based on) as the guide. Connelly also appears in a five-minute featurette interviewing McConaughey about the character that he created.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Special Features: 5.5/10
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