Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 12
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

I’M TELLING YOU, I WAS FRAMED: Defense Attorney Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey, left) confers with his client Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillipe) on the best way to proceed in order to convince the jury that Louis is innocent of any crime. However, the best laid plans often “gang aglee” and Mick has his hands full in defending this seemingly open and shut criminal case. (Photo by Saeed Adyani

The Lincoln Lawyer: Disgraced Attorney Seeks Redemption in Crime Thriller

Kam Williams

If you enjoy trying to solve a cerebral multi-layered mystery, then go see this clever whodunit before anybody has a chance to spoil it for you. Based on Michael Connelly’s bestseller of the same name, this intricate thriller was directed by Brad Furman (The Take) and stars Matthew McConaughey in the title role. He plays a down-on-his-luck attorney that audiences just love to root for. He is an empathetic underdog reminiscent of the recovering alcoholic that Paul Newman portrayed in The Verdict in his Oscar-winning performance.

McConaughey’s character, Mick Haller, is a likable alcoholic whose driver’s license was suspended for driving under the influence. However, his car functions both as a means of transportation and as an office, so he has a client paying off his debt (Laurence Mason) by chauffeuring Mick around Los Angeles. Besides booze, Mick is at odds with his ex-wife Margaret (Marisa Tomei) over the disposition of their child (Mackenzie Aladjem). In addition, because Margaret is a criminal prosecutor, she works on the opposite side of the law.

As a defense attorney who is forced to meet on the street with his clients, mobility is critical. Because most of his clients are destitute, when a bail bondsman (John Leguizamo) tells him that Louis Roulet (Ryan Philippe), the son of a Beverly Hills real estate tycoon (Frances Fisher), wants to hire him Mick jumps at the opportunity.

Mick learns that the 32-year-old heir has been arrested for the attempted murder of a badly-bruised woman (Margarita Levieva) whom he picked up at a nightclub. In a meeting in jail, Louis claims that he’s being framed by a money hungry liar who staged the attack with a couple of confederates. According to his version of the events, someone standing behind the alleged victim’s apartment door knocked him unconscious as soon as he entered, and then planted a knife and the alleged victim’s blood on him.

Mick arranges for Louis’s release on a million-dollar bond, and insists on a large retainer for what he expects to be an open and shut case. His client’s alibi appears to be corroborated by the bar’s surveillance videotape that shows the alleged victim slipping Louis her phone number on a napkin on the night in question.

When the assistant D.A. (Josh Lucas) announces that he plans to put the defendant on trial, Mick asks his private investigator, Frank (William H. Macy), to dig a little deeper. Soon, the plot thickens deliciously in myriad ways which it would be unfair to divulge. Suffice it to say that what ensues is a complex game of cat and mouse that a grips your attention as it unravels.

Excellent (4 stars). Rated R for violence, sexuality, and profanity. Running time: 119 minutes. Distributor: Lionsgate Films.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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