If we single out legal thrillers as a separate subgenre among Hollywood blockbusters, then “The Lincoln Lawyer” will take one of the first places in popularity among them. This film is liked not only by fans of M. McConaughey, who brilliantly played the main role, but also by all lovers of truly high-quality cinema. In The Lincoln Lawyer, every viewer will find something for themselves: from a “dashingly twisted” plot to serious reflections on the essence of the US legal system. The presence of several layers of meaning is the most interesting feature of the film, to which it owes its literary basis.
What novel formed the basis for the script?
We can say that B. Furman’s film was born thanks to the best-selling author M. Connelly, who in 2005 published the first of a series of novels about Mickey Holler – The Lincoln Lawyer. The identical title of the film and the book emphasizes the similarity of their content (as much as possible for works belonging to different types of art). Connelly, an acclaimed master of legal thriller, also co-wrote the script.
What is so special about a legal thriller?
As a separate subgenre, the legal thriller in cinema and literature was formed in the 1990s with the light hand of J. Grisham. Briefly, its essence can be formulated as follows: there is certainly a crime, suspense and a complex intrigue, but the main character (or one of the main characters) is not a dashing private detective or an incorruptible cop, but a stubborn judge or a clever lawyer. At the same time, preparation for the trial and its course are much more important than the investigation, and the relationship between clients, lawyers and other representatives of the legal system is much more important than the image of the mores of the underworld. Another important feature of the subgenre is the very great importance of various kinds of legal nuances. If evidence or testimony becomes a “stumbling block” in a detective story, then in a legal thriller laws or rules play such a role: for example,
What is the peculiarity of the film?
Usually legal thrillers cannot boast of exciting scenes of fights and chases: the duels in them are predominantly intellectual, psychological. And in order for such a duel to captivate the viewer, it must be replete with unexpected turns, and outstanding personalities must lead it in their own way. All this is in “Lincoln for the Advocate.” The plot itself is unusual: the lawyer’s opponent turns out to be not a corrupt policeman or another lawyer, but his own client. The action develops according to the principle of a chess game, and up to a certain point both the lawyer and the spectator play blindly. But The Lincoln Lawyer would not have escaped a number of good, but passable films, if the personalities of the players were not more interesting than the moves they made.
What’s the secret behind Mickey Holler’s charm?
Not so often, from the very first shots, the viewer begins to conscientiously demonstrate all the disadvantages of the protagonist. Less than 10 minutes have passed, and we already know that the handsome lawyer is a very cunning person who has reached unprecedented heights in manipulating people and squeezing money out of them. Further, in theory, antipathy should grow, but exactly the opposite happens, and by the end of the film we wish Holler victory with all our hearts. Because it is difficult not to empathize with a living, very real and, therefore, not ideal person.
A California lawyer turns out to be much more complicated than it seemed at first, there are many facets in his personality: he is a brilliant professional, and a loving father, and a reliable friend, and a pragmatist-materialist, and a man with principles. And he is also a very distant cultured, so to speak, a descendant of the cunning Odysseus: he also got out of any situation. In a tense duel with Rule, those traits of Holler are revealed that he himself, perhaps, did not know about – and therefore it is so interesting to watch him.
What is the meaning of Luis Roulet’s image?
Some critics and spectators were dissatisfied with the image of the major-killer, reproaching R. Phillippe, who played him, for the lack of charisma. In fact, Roulet’s “colorlessness” is imaginary, and the gradual disclosure of the image is one of the director’s greatest successes. It is easy to see that the antagonists are shown to the viewer in a diametrically opposite way: if at first Holler seems to be a vile type, then Roulet gives the impression of a spoiled mama’s son, a kind of ignorant who got into trouble, but not a murderer.
His true nature – a cold-blooded psychopathic player – is gradually revealed thanks to Holler. In some ways, these two are similar: Holler – a talented manipulator – ran into a worthy opponent. But if the lawyer is cunning for the sake of money and success, then Roulet does evil for the pleasure of doing evil. And here we come to the main idea of the film.
What’s the point of the movie?
If the typical legal thriller is built on the struggle between good and evil, then “Lincoln for a Lawyer” abandons the black-and-white scheme. The unambiguous evil in the film is a crime, but everything else can be interpreted in different ways, and the law in the film is not a punishing ax or a drawbar, but rather a scalpel. With its help, you can destroy an innocent person, or you can save a life: it all depends on whose hands he falls into and how the owner of these hands is doing with his conscience.
Holler’s conscience turned out to be all right: he, albeit belatedly, pulled the innocent out of prison and sent the murderer there. What is the conclusion? The legal system is, first of all, people, not laws: the human factor rules always and everywhere. Well, and the fact that the main battle between good and evil is unfolding not in the courtroom, but in the hearts of people is not news since the time of Dostoevsky, who, by the way, is also not indifferent to the topic of trials.