Contributed By Troy Lim
Criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey), a street-smart wheeler-dealer lawyer who works out of his Lincoln limo will do almost anything to get his client off the hook. That is, until he gets hired by wealthy Beverly Hills playboy Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe). Accused of rape and attempted murder, he pushes the privilege of client-attorney confidentiality to its extreme, and what starts off as a whodunit soon turns into a battle of wits as Mickey grapples with the dilemma of fighting someone he has to defend in the courtroom.
Mickey’s charm, conflict and turmoil is convincingly portrayed by McConaughey and given dimension through his relationship with his ex-wife Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei) and good friend and colleague Frank Levin (William H Macy). It’s an ensemble cast that works brilliantly, with no shortage of varied and interesting characters, mostly from the wrong side of the law (look out for John Leguizamo who has some of the movie’s most outrageous one-liners).
But despite the clever scripting and immense cast performances, this crime drama movie, adapted from the novel of the same name by Michael Connelly falls short of legendary courtroom movies such as Philadelphia, Erin Brockovich and A Few Good Men. Those films grappled with issues such as discrimination, illegal dumping and blind duty within the military, and the protagonists usually find themselves against Goliaths like the institution of the US Military or corporate bullies. Here, Mickey is up against a rich mama’s boy—not exactly the greatest nemesis in courtroom movie history. Then again, perhaps I’m expecting way too much from a lawyer who works out of a car.