The Lincoln Lawyer

I didn’t really have any plans to see The Lincoln Lawyer. A Matthew McConaughey where he doesn’t take off his shirt? What’s the point? But the Old Man wanted to see it, and I was eager to get him to the movies whenever he was up to it. Every time I asked, though, he was too tired.

Then he died.

That night, I drove his convertible with The Boy riding shotgun and The Flower in the back to see it in his honor. Although I had cultivated my love of movies independently, over the years the Old Man and I had seen a movie a week (or more). Literally, hundreds of films together—much of it during the ‘80s, when it was a challenge to see a movie a week, even in Los Angeles. Everything from schlocky crap like The Forbidden World and high budget actioners like The Road Warrior, to foreign films like The Tin Drum and classics—we saw The General together at a revival theater.

He would’ve been pleased by The Lincoln Lawyer, I think. This is (fittingly enough) a very ’70s-style mystery/action thriller with McConaughey as a mercenary lawyer who nevertheless has a pretty strong ethical code.

The plot revolves around Haller (McConaughey) taking on a case where a very rich client (Ryan Philippe) is accused of raping a hooker. When his mother (Frances Fisher) accedes to all of Haller’s financial demands, Haller takes the case.

From here, the plot hits a couple of really common tropes (like—and I hope this doesn’t ruin the movie for anyone—everyone’s lying) but it hits them fast, and then sort of inverts, changing the focus of the movie. It does this kind of zigzag several times, keeping the straightforward premise from getting stale. Make no mistake, though: this movie covers a lot of familiar territory.

It’s kind of like the titular Lincoln. Very ’70s feeling in a lot of ways, but classic.

Also ’70s-feeling was the subplot with Marisa Tomei as Haller’s divorced wife, who snarls at Haller when they’re not having sex, or he’s not being the World’s Best Dad, and William H. Macy as the private dick who uncovers a shocking clue!

No car chases, though. The Old Man would’ve wanted some chase scenes.

The Boy liked it, and all he knows about McConaughey is the shirt thing.

The Flower thought it was funny—I think she had a hard time following the plot—but not as funny as Gran Torino (which she regards as one of the funniest movies ever).

I liked it, too. But I missed talking with him about it afterward.

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