The Lincoln Lawyer

The Lincoln Lawyer, adapted from a Michael Connelly novel, is a very lively hybrid—a funky-flavored crime story with elements of detective yarn, courtroom drama, private-eye farrago, police procedural, and an offbeat take on crime and punishment as practiced around contemporary Los Angeles. The title character (a quietly intense Matthew McConaughey) conducts much of his business from the backseat of his chauffeured Lincoln sedan. Genre dynamics prevail throughout, but the key characters crackle with nongeneric complexity. McConaughey’s Mick Haller is a very talented rascal with a surprisingly sharp conscience, a smooth operator who finds himself in an unusually dramatic moral and ethical bind. And his high-profile client of the moment, a SoCal real-estate scion (Ryan Phillippe) charged with murdering a prostitute, is a mercurial sort whose mask of privileged cluelessness is just the first factor in the increasingly disturbing evolution of his character. Director Brad Furman makes pungent use of the iconic values in his thoroughly intriguing cast. McConaughey and Phillippe are both very good, but what The Lincoln Lawyer has on display is not so much good acting as good casting and direction. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated R