The Lincoln Lawyer (film)

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The Lincoln Lawyer
The Lincoln Lawyer Poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Brad Furman
Produced by Sidney Kimmel
Tom Rosenberg
Gary Lucchesi
Richard Wright
Scott Steindorff
Screenplay by John Romano
Based on The Lincoln Lawyer 
by Michael Connelly
Starring Matthew McConaughey
Marisa Tomei
Ryan Phillippe
Josh Lucas
John Leguizamo
Michael Peña
Bob Gunton
Bryan Cranston
William H. Macy
Music by Cliff Martinez
Cinematography Lukas Ettlin
Edited by Jeff McEvoy
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release dates
  • March 10, 2011 (2011-03-10) (Hollywood premiere)
  • March 18, 2011 (2011-03-18)
Running time 118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[1]
Box office $85,507,593[2]

The Lincoln Lawyer is a 2011 American thriller film adapted from the novel of the same name by Michael Connelly, starring Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy and Marisa Tomei. The film is directed by Brad Furman, with a screenplay written by John Romano.

The story is adapted from the first of several novels featuring lawyer Mickey Haller, who works out of a chauffeur-driven Lincoln Town Car rather than an office. Haller is hired by a wealthy Los Angeles businesswoman to defend her son, who is accused of assault. Details of the crime bring up uncomfortable parallels with a former case, and Haller discovers the two cases are intertwined.


Criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey) operates around Los Angeles County out of his black Lincoln Town Car. Haller has spent most of his career defending garden-variety criminals, including a local biker gang led by Eddie Vogel (Trace Adkins), but one day a high-profile case comes his way.

Haller is hired to represent wealthy Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a Beverly Hills playboy and son of real estate mogul Mary Windsor (Frances Fisher), who is accused of the brutal beating of prostitute Regina Campo (Margarita Levieva). Roulet insists he is the innocent victim of a frame-up. Haller and his investigator Frank Levin (William H. Macy) analyze the pictures and evidence, notably the injuries the victim sustained. It bears a similarity to a past case of Haller's that landed a client, Jesus Martinez (Michael Peña), in prison for life for murdering a woman, despite repeatedly proclaiming his innocence.

Haller has a daughter with his ex-wife, prosecutor Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei), who has never appreciated Haller's efforts on behalf of guilty clients. Haller begins to wonder if he should have tried harder on behalf of Martinez instead of convincing him to plead guilty in exchange for avoiding the death penalty. Martinez becomes agitated when Haller visits him and shows him Roulet's picture. Haller begins to suspect that Roulet could be the real killer in the Martinez case, but bound by attorney–client confidentiality rules, he cannot tell the police what he has learned.

Roulet breaks into Haller's house, nonchalantly admits to committing the murder that put Martinez in prison, and makes veiled threats toward Haller's family. Levin is shot to death after leaving a voicemail message claiming that he has found Martinez's ticket out of jail. The murder weapon used in Levin's murder is a .22 caliber pistol, and Haller finds his .22 Colt Woodsman is missing from its box.

A police detective named Lankford (Bryan Cranston) who dislikes Haller discovers the gun's registration and suspects Haller's involvement in Levin's murder. Haller is sure the weapon was stolen by Roulet when he broke into Haller's home.

Obliged to do his best for his client, guilty or not, Haller ruthlessly cross-examines the prostitute and discredits her in the jury's eyes. However, Haller sets up a known prison informant with information on the previous murder. When the informant testifies, Haller discredits him and the state's attorney (Josh Lucas) can do nothing but move to dismiss all charges. Roulet is set free, to his mother's great delight, but the police arrest him immediately for the previous murder, based upon testimony Haller had coaxed out of the informant.

Haller acquires a Smith and Wesson pistol from his driver, Earl (Laurence Mason), as a precaution against any retribution he may face. Roulet is released due to lack of evidence and sets out immediately to kill Haller's ex-wife and child. Haller finds out in time to get them out of the house. He sits waiting for Roulet, who mockingly tells Haller that he will not be able to guard his family this way every day. Just then, a group of bikers Haller previously represented starts bashing Roulet's Maserati, then brutally beat Roulet as well.

Haller gets a call from Maggie that a parking ticket was issued to Roulet near the house of the previous murder victim, strong evidence against Roulet in his pending murder trial that will support Martinez's release. Upon arriving home, Haller discovers Roulet's mother, Mary Windsor, inside. She shoots him with the Colt Woodsman, confessing that she murdered Levin to protect her son. Haller, wounded, is able to shoot and kill her.

After being discharged from the hospital, Haller learns that Martinez has been released and that the District Attorney will seek the death penalty against Roulet. As Haller rides off to his next case, he is pulled over by Vogel and the biker gang, whose next case he takes pro bono because of their previous help.



After watching a rough cut of the film on November 12, 2010, Michael Connelly, author of the book The Lincoln Lawyer, said:[3]

The movie comes out March 18. A couple days ago I saw an unfinished cut of it and could not be happier. I thought it was very loyal to the story and the character of Mickey Haller. Matthew McConaughey nails him. Those who loved the book will love the movie, I think. Those who don't know the book will love it just the same. The casting and acting is really superb. Like I said, I could not be happier. I'm very excited and can't wait to see what fans of the book think.

The film received positive reviews, scoring an 83% "certified fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 156 reviews with an average rating of 6.6/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "It doesn't offer any twists on the predictable courtroom thriller formula, but with a charming Matthew McConaughey leading its solid cast, The Lincoln Lawyer offers briskly enjoyable entertainment." At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 63, based on 30 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews."[4] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 stars out of a possible 4, saying, "The plotting seems like half-realized stabs in various directions made familiar by other crime stories. But for what it is, The Lincoln Lawyer is workmanlike, engagingly acted and entertaining."

Home media[edit]

The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD on July 12, 2011.[5]


  1. ^ Kaufman, Amy (2011-03-17). "Movie Projector: Matthew McConaughey, Bradley Cooper and an alien battle for No. 1". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  2. ^ "The Lincoln Lawyer: Total Lifetime Grosses". The Numbers. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  3. ^ The Lincoln Lawyer Movie Adaptation. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
  4. ^ "The Lincoln Lawyer Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Retrieved 24 May 2011.  Metacritic. Retrieved on 2011-03-19.
  5. ^ "The Lincoln Lawyer Blu-ray and DVD Arrive July 12th". MovieWeb. Retrieved 29 April 1945. 

External links[edit]