The Lincoln Lawyer

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Directed by Brad Furman

USA, 2011

Matthew McConaughey puts his slimy charms to terrific effect in this solid legal thriller with a wonderful twist on an old story: what happens when a lawyer not only knows that his client is guilty, but that revealing it could get him into serious trouble? McConaughey plays an advocate who specializes in tough cases that win him a huge payload, who has a familiar case fall in his lap that turns out to be irregular. A party-happy rich kid (Ryan Philippe) is accused of beating up a prostitute and faces spending serious jail time unless his lawyer can help him. In investigating the details of the case, our hero realizes that not only is it likely that Philippe committed the crime, but that he is also responsible for a murder that someone else, who was once McConaughey’s client, wrongly went to jail for. Untangling this web has serious ramifications for the progatonist, who faces destroying his entire career to make wrong things right, and his getting himself out of this mess without hurting himself, his investigator best friend (William H. Macy) and fellow lawyer ex-wife (Marisa Tomei) and daughter is going to be tricky. Watching him work it out is a thorough delight.