Seeing the Story – The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

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Reasons for Watching: The latest Mickey Haller/Lincoln Lawyer Series book – Michael Connelly’s The Gods of Guilt features many characters from the first book in the series, also called The Lincoln Lawyer. As I kicked off 2014 by finishing Connelly’s most recent novel in this series, I continuously referred to previous summations of The Lincoln Lawyer. Then, I thought I should check out the DVD of the 2011 movie to refresh my memory. I requested the movie from Harris County Public Library.

Summary of Movie: Defense attorney Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey)  practices law in the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car. His chauffeur, Earl (Laurence Mason), drives Haller all over LA as he provides legal services to various clients. A couple noteworthy clients are a biker gang (led by Trace Adkins) and a prostitute named Gloria (Katherine Moennig). Ex-wife Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei) is a prosecutor for the DA. While she doesn’t approve of who Haller defends, she seems to still be attracted to him. They share a young daughter, Hayley.

Haller seems to hit the jackpot when golden boy Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) clamors for Haller’s services. Roulet, son of real estate mogul Mary Windsor (Frances Fisher), stands accused of beating would be actress/prostitute Regina Campo  (Margarita Levieva). With investigator Frank Levin (William H. Macy), Haller looks into the evidence. Haller notices startling similarities between the Roulet case and that of Jesus Martinez (Michael Peña). Martinez received life in prison for a crime Martinez claimed he didn’t commit. Now, Haller finds himself between a rock and a hard place – defend Roulet to the best of his abilities or turn in the guy who’s guilty.

Book to Movie Adaptation: While they changed things from book to movie, I think the essence of Connelly’s work remained. Some names were changed, a few characters didn’t seem to make the cut, and Haller’s relationship with secretary/caseworker Lorna Taylor (Pell James) is different. Most notable is the change of Macy’s character’s name from Raul to Frank Levin. Also, it wasn’t clear if all this action is set in 2005 when the book was published or in 2010-11 when the movie hit theaters.

Review: I thought the movie captured the essence of the book. Yes, I may have preferred a little more about Haller and Lorna. While McConaughey and Phillippe were ideal for their respective roles, I did think that Phillippe needed to seem bigger and more intimidating. That’s how Roulet came across in the book. Lastly, I wish they’d played more of the music Haller mentioned in the book but now, I’m being picky! 😉 So, when are they making the next movie?