I think some of the best movies that have been about lawyers and really difficult or controversial court cases were ones based in reality. It's not these manufactured court cases that you'd see on David E. Kelley's The Practice. It's not that those cases can't be compelling or fun to watch. It's just at times you can feel the hand of David E. Kelley or in this example Michael Connelly at work moving pieces around like it was checkers.
It's not like Matthew McConaughey's A Time to Kill, which was about an important social issue. It's a murder mystery that's about making the criminal justice system a board game of who gets away with what. McConaughey stars as Mick Haller, a defense attorney who's known for working out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car. He's more of a hustler who knows the law.
Ryan Phillippe co-stars as Louis Roulet, a man on trial for rape who because of his reputation requests Mick as his lawyer. Louis comes from a wealthy family. He doesn't seem empathetic but rather emphatic about his innocence. There's some suspicion that circles his side of the story, but there's a tense he-said-she-said component that's fascinating in that it's somewhat quickly resolved and used as a springboard into the real fight.
The real fight is between attorney and client. It feels like a tug-o-war or an arm wrestle that's slickly made and McConaughey slides right into it. William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, Michael Pena, Trace Adkins, John Leguizamo and Laurence Mason round out the cast with cool, character performances. It was nice also to see Marissa Tomei in a lawyer movie. I don't think I have seen her in one since her Oscar-winning role in My Cousin Vinny.
Four Stars out of Five.
Rated R for some violence, sexual content and language.