Bearing in mind his need to keep on the move in every sense, a mobile office is what he needs, the car driven by an earlier client, Earl (Mason) still paying off his fees.
Haller has the prerequisite messy private life, sometime girlfriend and mother of his daughter in the form of (Marisa Tomei) and exists as a bottom feeder, defending mainly guilty clients and getting them off, even on a technicality if necessary.
Mickey is played as not a bad man, stretching the rules, ducking and diving, working the system but not inherently bad. Of course this is a man that puts drug dealers back on the streets again and gets paid in cash from a biker gang, but there is good in there somewhere.
Mickey hits the big time when he is asked to defend Louis Roulet (Ryan Phllippe), a wealthy realtor who is charged with attempted rape and assault on a young prostitute. Mick can see the dollar signs although it troubles him that maybe he has the most dangerous of clients, an innocent man.
The plot twists and turns and although perhaps a little contrived and unlikely, ends with some exciting court scenes, character redemption and a reasonable denouement.
McConaughey who has been coasting in some terrible romcom’s has clearly decided he wants to give acting another chance. He plays Mickey as an arrogant southerner working every angle and it works. McConaughey again showing us that he can actually inhabit a character and make us believe in him, remember Grisham’s “Time to Kill”. He has good support from Tomei, William H Macy, Josh Lucas and John Leguizamo.
Phllipe is very clean cut and whilst giving indications of the deeper undercurrents at play, is perhaps not the ideal casting for the character that unfolds. The case of course proving to be anything but, straightforward.
The film is light on action which will limit it’s appeal which is a pity, as there is some good work being done here. It almost feels like a set up for a better movie down the line, Connelley has written about Haller again, so we may see more of the Lincoln Town car yet.
Workmanlike direction and solid performances provide an entertaining legal thriller, the like of which we have not seen since Grisham hung up his legal pen to holiday in Italy.
Like most films based on books, not as good as the written work but a fair approximation of the style of Connelly’s new character.
A solid adaption of Connelly’s work, a much better effort than Clint Eastwood’s earlier “Blood Work”.
If well plotted, intelligent albeit unlikely courtroom drama with some nifty twists and turns is of interest, then you will not be disappointed.