Shock news! Matthew McConaughey appears in a good movie! Can you believe it? After the romcom dross of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and the execrable Fools' Gold, to name but two of his past "achievements", it's refreshing to report that his latest effort is a very fine film indeed, a solid courtroom thriller that delivers the goods.
He appears in every scene of this complicated but compelling tale of an LA lawyer who gets more than he bargains for when he takes on a new case. As Mick Haller, an ambulance chasing legal eagle who conducts his business out of a Lincoln Continental, he's employed by the rich and spoilt Louis Roulet (Phillippe) to defend him on a charge of attempted murder. But as events unfold he comes to discover that he is being manipulated in more ways than one and that there are forces in play that have the promise of causing him great danger.
It would be foolish to give away too much and spoil your enjoyment. Suffice to say, this is an intricately plotted affair that skillfully draws you in and keeps you guessing. In a way it reminds one of that classic '80s legal thriller Jagged Edge in its confident handling of making you question characters' motives. And the top cast rise to the challenge magnificently. McConaughey carries it all with aplomb, giving a deft and convincing performance as the determined defence attorney out of his depth. Lucas is suitably unctuous as the opposing prosecutor on the case and Phillippe gives a good account of himself as the accused. As his mother, Fisher registers the right amount of maternal devotion and Macy is very entertaining as McConaughey's dishevelled private investigator. Girls will be relieved to know that Matthew takes his top off in his love scene with Marisa Tomei but guys might be disappointed that she keeps her bra on.
Brad Furman's unfussy but commanding direction keeps the storyline fizzing along and John Romano's sharp script from Michael Connelly's novel is nimble enough to keep you continuously intrigued throughout. One hopes it does good enough business to rate a follow up. A movie such as this, a commercial product that is well crafted and intelligent, is rarely done by Hollywood now. It's strong and satisfying, and deserves encouragement. It's not high art obviously, but is a perfect popcorn picture for a Friday or Saturday night. Highly recommended.
EXTRAS ★★★ The featurette Making the Case: Creating the Lincoln Lawyer; teh featurette At Home on the Road; the featurette One on One, in which star McConaughey and author Michael Connelly talk about the film; four deleted scenes.