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Pulp friction

Adapted from the bestselling pulp novel by Michael Connelly, this crime-cum-courtroom drama doesn’t quite have the passion of its convictions.

entertainment Updated: Apr 01, 2011 23:45 IST

THE LINCOLN LAWYER
Direction: Brad Furman
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe
Rating:

Adapted from the bestselling pulp novel by Michael Connelly, this crime-cum-courtroom drama doesn’t quite have the passion of its convictions.

There’s nothing Lincoln-esque about the smarmy defence attorney (McConaughey) who bites off more than he can chew when he takes on the case of a rich playboy (Phillippe, barely convincing) accused of assaulting a woman. By the way, the title refers to the car — a chauffeur-driven Lincoln Continental — from which the lawyer conducts most of his business.

Murder and mayhem ensue as the case goes to court. There are moments of feverish friction between the flustered attorney and his client. Needless to stress, the protracted proceedings ends up outstaying its welcome.

The direction by Furman (The Take) is devoid of the stylistic flourishes which are essential for an edge-of-the-seat thriller. On the upside, the glamour and the grime of the Los Angeles locations are deftly conveyed.

The film also benefits from couple of striking supporting performances. In the role of the wheeler-dealer’s ex-wife, Marisa Tomei is bankably compelling. Josh Lucas is correctly restrained as the prosecuting attorney.

Jettisoning his usual pretty boy charm, Matthew McConaughey gets under the skin of his character with utter conviction. Despite some contrived moments, The Lincoln Lawyer provides fair value for the price of a ticket.