The Lincoln Lawyer (Blu-ray Review)

I am thrilled that a new Matthew McConaughey movie has arrived at my door.  While I love Matthew McConaughey in a completely superficial way (he’s hot), I’m glad to see that this isn’t the millionth Matthew McConaughey romantic comedy.  While he does a great job as a romantic comedy lead, most of those movies are identical, and I do think that given the chance, he can really shine in a dramatic role.  This movie is based on the best-selling novel by Michael Connelly which focuses on an attorney named Mitch Haller (McConaughey) that has spent most of his career defending gutter-variety criminals,  until he takes on a case that could land him a real office, instead of running his practice out of his old Lincoln.  Haller reaches a crisis of conscious, though, while working on the defense of Beverly Hills playboy Louis Roulet (Phillippe).


Defense attorney Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) basically runs his law practice out of the backseat of his ’87 Lincoln Town Car.  He’s an unconventional lawyer with some unusual clients.  He often defends career criminals and is it not unusual for a gang of bikers to motion for his driver to pull to the side of the road so deals can be made.  In the special features, Matthew McConaughey describes the character as a bottom feeder with a heart.  Haller’s ex wife Maggie (Marisa Tomei) is a prosecutor and he sees his daughter Haley on weekends.

Haller is a slick, street smart attorney serving the often repeat offenders of the hot, humid Los Angeles area. His latest client is Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillipe) who is charged with the attempted rape and murder of a prostitute.  Haller’s investigator is played by a shaggy haired William H. Macy and together they are used to assisting a variety of criminals.

Despite what you might think, Haller is more than an ambulance chaser.  He is aware most of his clients are probably guilty, but believes in the justice system and that everyone deserves a fair defense.  His father was in the same line of work, and warned him that the scariest client is an innocent man.  If a guilty man goes to prison, Haller can sleep at night knowing that he gave the best defense he could.  If an innocent man goes to prison, Haller feels that is on his conscience because he screwed up.  In the case of client Roulet, Haller is not sure what he has.

Roulet is a rich playboy type that gives a convincing denial.  Inconsistencies lead Haller to a crisis of conscience and the realization that he may have been manipulated.  Haller prides himself on being a slick lawyer, who is always two steps ahead of the prosecution, but wonders if Roulet has planned every event from start to finish.  The ethical dilemmas raised include do you have to believe in your client to defend him and does it matter if the victim is a prostitute.  My main fear was that I would be watching A Time To Kill 2.  I hate it when people make basically the same movie only with a different title and it was always in the back of my mind that Matthew McConaughey was already a lawyer once.  Luckily, The Lincoln Lawyer is a different film and it is one I recommend.


The Lincoln Lawyer is presented on Blu-ray in an excellent 16×9 wide-screen 1080p (2.35:1) transfer.  The director chose to show the gritty sides of Los Angeles and the film has a definite distinct atmospheric feel to it.  While the exterior landscapes are notably hazy the close ups of the actors provide great detail.  I notice often that Matthew McConaughey is developing wrinkles as he is now in his forties.  A lot of the detail in the actor’s faces makes me think their characters have had hard lives.  Black levels are solid and I was very happy with this transfer and the clarity of the picture.


The Lincoln Lawyer is presented with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix with optional English and Spanish subtitles.  English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are also available.  The dialogue is very clear and at an appropriate level.  Whether someone is yelling at an adversary or whispering threats under their voice the dialogue was always intelligible.  The audio in general is subtle and moody to complement the visuals but overall a 5.1 mix probably would have been sufficient.  There simply aren’t that many great “surround sound” moments in the film.

Special Features

The Lincoln Lawyer’s special features are acceptable both in quality and in number.  I often complain when a film is missing a blooper reel but I get the sense that for this film, the actors took the filming very seriously and were well prepared and did not attempt to lighten the mood.  The Lincoln Lawyer Blu-ray disc contains the following special features:

  • Making the Case:  Creating the Lincoln Lawyer – A featurette where author Michael Connelly talks about how he got the idea for a lawyer doing business from the backseat.  The filmmakers discuss getting everyone on board.  It’s interesting to note that Marissa Tomei was given the role and Ryan Phillip has to read for it.
  • At Home on the Road – A featurette where  Michael Connelly takes you on a tour of Los Angeles. He talks about his writing influences and his experience as a journalist. Having lived and worked in Los Angeles he has a personal perspective on the city and explains how rare a not guilty verdict is.
  • One on One – A featurette where Matthew McConaughey and Michael Connelly ask each other questions about the film.  I’m impressed that both ask and answer intelligently (ok more impressed with McConaughey because he’s so pretty).  Both are happy with how McConaughey played Mick Haller and sand they talk about the possibility that he could do it again.
  • Deleted scenes – There are four deleted scenes which you can play individually or use the “play all” feature.  Most of the scenes show a sweet and often funny side to Mick Haller that I enjoyed watching but I think would lighten the mood of the film unnecessarily.
  • Also from Lionsgate – preview for other Lionsgate releases including Conan The Barbarian, which I now want to see (based solely on the preview).
  • Bookmarks – You can set and access bookmarks, which is something I never do.  I just use the preset scene selections to get where I need to go.

Final Thoughts

The Lincoln Lawyer turned out to be more of a drama and less of a thriller than I expected, but it is still an excellent film.  I don’t believe I have been overly biased by my love of Matthew McConaughey.  The film has a great ensemble cast and every actor seems perfectly suited to his or her role.  I’m happy to see the Blu-ray also has a DVD copy (to watch on the DVD player in the spare bedroom) and a Digital Copy (to take on vacation) because this is a film I plan to watch again.  While the plot takes a few twists and turns, I don’t feel like this is the kind of film that’s “ruined” once you know how it ends.  I’m sure there are subtle details I missed that I will pick up on subsequent viewings.  This is one of the few times I plan to look up the other films Brad Furman has directed as he did an excellent job with this one.

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5 Responses to “The Lincoln Lawyer (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    I really enjoyed this film as well. Good rental/buy

  2. Gerard Iribe

    That screencap where Matthew and Marisa are sitting in takes place in my favorite stomping ground called The York. Their specialty is the Cheddar Burger.

  3. Jami Ferguson

    @ Gerard – now I want a cheddar burger!

  4. Gerard Iribe

    They’re awesome. There’s actually three scenes and the first establishing shot of the joint is from the intersection as it zooms in to Matthew and William H Macy talking and eating/drinking while sitting facing the outside.

  5. Jiminy Critic

    I did enjoy this…