The Lincoln Lawyer (film)
Directed by Brad Furman
Produced by Sidney KimmelTom RosenbergGary Lucchesi Richard Wright Scott Steindorff
Screenplay by John Romano
Based on The Lincoln Lawyer byMichael Connelly
Starring Matthew McConaugheyMarisa TomeiRyan PhillipeJosh LucasJohn LeguizamoMichael PeñaBob Gunton with Bryan Cranston and William H. Macy
Music by Cliff Martinez
Cinematography Lukas Ettlin
Editing by Jeff McEvoy
Studio LionsgateLakeshore EntertainmentSKE Entertainment
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release date(s) March 18, 2011 (2011-03-18)
Running time 120 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[1]
Gross revenue $73,599,369[2]


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The Lincoln Lawyer (film)

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Promotional poster

The Lincoln Lawyer is a 2011 American crime drama film adapted from the novel of the same name by Michael Connelly, starring Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe and Marisa Tomei. The film is directed by Brad Furman, with a screenplay written by John Romano.


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Moderately successful criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey) operates around Los Angeles County out of a Lincoln Town Car driven by a former client working off his legal fees (hence the title). Haller has spent most of his career defending garden-variety criminals, until he lands the case of his career: Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a Beverly Hills playboy and son of real estate mogul Mary Windsor (Frances Fisher), who is accused of the brutal beating of a prostitute. But the seemingly straightforward case suddenly develops into a deadly game of survival for Haller.

Roulet is seemingly innocent and was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Haller and his investigator Frank Levin (William H. Macy) analyze the pictures and evidence, notably the injuries the victim sustained. It bears a similarity to a past case of Haller's that landed a previous client, Jesus Martinez (Michael Peña), in jail for murdering a woman, despite always proclaiming his innocence.

Haller spends time with his ex-wife, prosecutor Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei), who has never appreciated Haller's efforts on behalf of guilty criminals when he ought to be trying to put them behind bars. All his clients claim to be innocent, but Haller begins to wonder if he should have tried harder on behalf of Martinez instead of convincing him to plead guilty in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.

In prison, Martinez becomes agitated when Haller shows him Roulet's picture. Haller begins to suspect that Roulet could be the real killer in the Martinez case, but bound by attorney-client confidentiality rules, he cannot tell the police what he has learned.

Levin is mysteriously killed after leaving a voicemail message claiming that he has found Martinez's ticket out of jail. Haller is suspected of killing Levin because a collector's gun missing from his house was used to kill Levin, a gun that Haller believes was taken by Roulet after the latter broke into Haller's home.

Obliged to do his best for his client, guilty or not, Haller ruthlessly cross-examines the beaten prostitute and discredits her in the jury's eyes. After a prison informant lies to the prosecution on the witness stand, the defense moves to dismiss all charges in the current case. Roulet is set free, delighting his mother, but the police then arrest Roulet immediately for the previous murder case, based upon testimony Haller coaxed out of the witness.

Haller acquires a gun from his driver, Earl, as a precaution against any retribution he may face. Roulet is released due to lack of evidence and sets out immediately to kill Haller's wife and child, but Haller finds out in time to get them out of the house. He is waiting as Roulet arrives and draws his gun. Roulet mockingly tells Haller he won't be able to guard his family this way every day. But a group of bikers that Haller has previously represented brutally assaults Roulet.

Upon arriving home, Haller discovers Roulet's mother inside. She shoots him with his own gun, the same one that killed Frank, confessing that she committed that murder. Haller, wounded, kills her with his new gun.

After being discharged from the hospital, Haller discovers that Frank had found a parking ticket issued to Roulet near the house of the murdered victim—strong evidence against Roulet in his pending murder trial. Martinez will be released, and Haller rides off to his next case.


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  • Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller
  • Ryan Phillippe as Louis Roulet
  • Marisa Tomei as Margaret McPherson
  • William H. Macy as Frank Levin
  • Michaela Conlin as Detective Heidi Sobel
  • Josh Lucas as Ted Minton
  • Margarita Levieva as Regina Campo
  • Trace Adkins as Eddie Vogel
  • Laurence Mason as Earl
  • Frances Fisher as Mary Windsor
  • John Leguizamo as Val Valenzuela
  • Michael Peña as Jesus Martinez
  • Bob Gunton as Cecil Dobbs
  • Katherine Moennig as Gloria
  • Reggie Baker as Judge Fullbright
  • Mackenzie Aladjem as Hayley Haller
  • Bryan Cranston as Detective Lankford
  • Michael Paré as Detective Kurlen
  • Pell James as Lorna Taylor
  • Shea Whigham as DJ Corliss


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The trailer debuted on the 20th of November, 2010. A second trailer, which provided more plot details, was released on the 23rd of December, 2010. The trailer featured the Linkin Park track "The Catalyst."


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The film has received mostly positive reviews, scoring an 84% "certified fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The site's critics consensus reads, "It doesn't offer any twists on the predictable courtroom thriller formula, but with a charming Matthew McConaughey leading its solid cast, The Lincoln Lawyer offers briskly enjoyable entertainment." At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 63, based on 30 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews.". Metacritic. Retrieved on 2011-03-19. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film 3 stars out of a possible 4, saying, "The plotting seems like half-realized stabs in various directions made familiar by other crime stories. But for what it is, The Lincoln Lawyer is workmanlike, engagingly acted and entertaining."

After watching a rough cut of the film on November 12, Michael Connelly, author of the book The Lincoln Lawyer, said:

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