The Lincoln Lawyer
March 25, 2012
The Lincoln Lawyer
“When making a movie from a popular, 400-page mystery/thriller novel, the success or failure of the film production often relies more upon the quality of the adaptation than any other single factor” (Berardinelli, 2011, para 1). This statement has never been truer than with the film The Lincoln Lawyer. There are a lot of stories that try to make the transition from the pages of a book to the big screen, and most lose vital parts in this transition usually due to time constraints. However, director Brad Furman does an outstanding job in bringing this thriller from the pages of Michael Connelly’s novel to the moving medium. In this paper we will analyze several different aspects of the film including: Storytelling, acting, cinematography, editing, sound, style and directing, societal impact, genre, and film criticism and analysis. Finally I will end with my thoughts and conclusion. Body
The Lincoln Lawyer follows chronological order, meaning “the order in which events would logically occur, from beginning to end” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011, Ch. 2 Key Terms). This is apparent from the beginning of the film when we meet Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) and from there the plot just seems to unfold in the order viewers are expecting it to, with the exception of the twists that audiences expect from this genre of film. Chronological order also allows the viewer to follow the character development of Mick Haller more closely, and in the end we see that this questionable lawyer still has some sort of a moral compass, and uses his courtroom prowess to right a wrong. The cinematography in this film does a nice job of complementing the plot. Right away the audience is introduced to, what appears to be, some pretty rough neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area. The audience is basically riding along with Haller as he conducts business in the backseat of his classic Lincoln. The viewer gets the impression that this lawyer’s cliental are rough people, but have the resources to pay his fees. The mise en scene is constant throughout the film, bouncing between the streets, courtroom, prisons and jails, and the backseat of Haller’s car. The main conflict in this film is whether Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) is guilty of raping and assaulting a female prostitute. At first, Haller believes that Roulet is innocent. As the story progresses we find out that Roulet is hiding convenient information from Haller, and is guilty of this crime and one other that is personal to Haller. Haller’s external conflict is that he is about to let a guilty man walk. The internal conflict is revealed in an old case where Haller convinces Jesus Martinez (Michael Pena) to plead guilty to a murder he did not commit. The result was that Martinez would get life instead of risking the death penalty. As the Roulet case starts to unfold, the crimes show a lot of similarities, and Haller discovers that Roulet is the one who committed the murder that Martinez pled guilty to. There is some irony here, because Haller’s biggest fear is that one day he may not be able to identify true innocence (Furman, 2011). This film helps audiences relate to the characters and storyline because we all want to do the right thing, and we all would like to right the wrongs in our past. Haller is a character that I find is very easy to relate to, I have been driven by the “almighty dollar” and didn’t care who I hurt to get it. I have bent truths all for self gain, but in the end, you always wind up worse off than you were to begin with, you have isolated yourself all in the name of prosperity. The universal truth in this film is the same, always take advantage of the opportunities to make something right, even if it means saying you were wrong. The actors in this film are Matthew McConaughey (Mick Haller), Marisa Tomei (Maggie McPherson),...
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