Film: The Lincoln Lawyer

The 2011 adaptation of Michael Connelly's 2005 novel of same title.

Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is a comfortably Amoral Attorney, gladly defending his lawless clientele even when he knows they're guilty. He is also extremely competent, and his services command substantial fees. His trademark: the beaten-up old Lincoln he rides around in. His willingness to defend known criminals has given him a reputation, and that reputation is about to get him tangled up in some serious trouble...

Enter Louis Roulet, a rich trust fund kid accused of attempting to rape and murder a young woman he met at a bar. With his wealthy parents' money, Roulet retains Haller as a lawyer. Roulet insists that he is absolutely innocent, but the young lady tells a different story. Within a few days revelations from both sides of the case send things spiraling out of control, and Mickey Haller finds himself and his loved ones in serious danger but unable to defend them due to the machinations of a brilliant criminal. But perhaps the would-be mastermind has underestimated the cunning of the Lincoln Lawyer...

The film was a modest financial success, more than making back its budget, and did very well with critics at the time of its release.

This film and/or the source novel provids examples of:

  • Acquitted Too Late: Attorney Mickey Haller's client Jesus Martinez spends several years in San Quentin for a murder he didn't commit. In the book he's HIV+ due to Prison Rape.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Investigator Raul Levin becomes Frank Levin, judge Connie Fullbright becomes Jameson Fullbright, and Jesus Menendez becomes Jesus Martinez.
  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels
  • The Alleged Car: Haller's Lincoln in the book was an up-to-date model he replaced every three years. In the movie it was a 1980's model that would be an overheating, unreliable beast under the kind of use he puts it through.
  • Amicably Divorced: Haller and his ex-wife, a prosecutor for the DA's office.
  • Amoral Attorney: Defense attorney Mickey Haller is seen by prosecutors (including his ex-wife) as one. Haller points out that all too often, the prosecution tries to pin unsolved crimes on defendants and pull other questionable legal maneuvers. The prosecutor who took over Roulet's case after Haller's ex-wife left to avoid conflict of interest provided an example.
  • And This Is for...: After Mickey Haller exposes Louis Roulet as the real culprit of a murder another client of his was wrongfully convicted for, he told Louis it was for Raul Levin, an investigator killed while looking for evidence.
  • Anti-Hero: Haller
  • The Atoner: Mickey Haller becomes this after he finds out he once strong-armed an innocent client into pleading guilty.
  • Batman Gambit: Haller knew that the DA would be so eager to pounce on DJ Curliss, that he wouldn't look into his past and learn about his history of being a jailhouse snitch and his record of lying. Not only did this put the final nail in Roulet's case, but it caused the DA's office to take another look at the Martinez case. Which is what Haller wanted all along.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early in the movie, Roulet mentions that the only criminal records against him are parking tickets. It turns out a certain parking ticket he received links him to the murder of the hooker Roulet killed and pinned on Martinez.
    • A literal gun in the case of the one Haller gets from his driver (at his request). It looks like he's going to use it on Roulet, but he only uses it to ward Roulet off until the bikers arrive. He actually uses it on Mrs. Roulet, who shot him after confessing that she killed Frank.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Roulet vs. the aforementioned biker gang. It is glorious to behold.
    Haller: I said the hospital, not the morgue!
  • For the Evulz: Why Roulet picked a low-rent attorney like Haller, when he had the resources to hire a bigger name. He knew Haller had represented a man he'd framed for an earlier murder, knew Haller would figure it out, and knew Haller couldn't do a damn thing about it without sacrificing his career. Or so he thought.
  • Gray and Black Morality: Haller might be an Amoral Attorney who knowingly defends guilty clients, but he's up against much worse. Still and all, don't be surprised if you spend half of the film wondering about who you want to win...
  • Good Parents: Haller and his prosecutor ex-wife are loving parents to their daughter Hayley.
  • GPS Evidence: The parking tickets that Roulet accumulated were able to show where he was on the night of the murders he's indicted for.
  • Guile Hero: Haller excels at setting up situations in advance to benefit himself.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Gloria, who has a friendly relationship with Haller, her lawyer, and helps Haller find out about DJ Curliss.
  • It Was a Gift: Haller's rare model of gun, which was handed down to him by his attorney father, who received it from an acquitted mobster client.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Haller may be a sleazy lawyer but he is also a caring friend, loving father and generous boss. And he is clearly appalled at Louis' viciousness.
  • Land Poor: In the book, it's revealed that Mickey Haller bought his home ignoring maintenance costs. He believes bail bondsman Fernando Valenzuela wouldn't accept it as collateral for a five-thousand-dollar debt.
  • MamaBear/PapaWolf: Mrs. Windsor and Haller, respectively.
  • Meaningful Name: Haller's client has the surname Roulet, "like a roulette wheel" according to Haller's friend. Roulet's mother, a rich and overbearing woman, remarried and is now Mrs. Windsor.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: A prostitute was raped and killed and a client she had recently met was wrongly arrested for that.
  • Naughty by Night: Roulet, such a nice boy, playing golf during daylight, killing prostitutes at night.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Haller is a great boss and friend to his driver Earl, even keeping him on long after he no longer needs him.
  • Off on a Technicality: Some of Haller's clients.
  • Oh Crap!: Minton, the prosecutor for the Roulet case, has this look when Roulet reveals his reasons for always carrying the weapon with which he was accused of assaulting the victim, thus blowing a huge hole in Minton's case.
    • Also used, when Roulet's mother tells him that she was found raped by her son. Josh Lucas is handling it.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: An early hint to Louis's true nature. He says "I woke up with two faggots on top of me", refusing to tone down his language for the court.
  • Reminiscing About Your Victims: Kinda lampshade-hung, when Haller sets Roulet up by making Corliss swear they talked about his killings, with details, though it never happened.
  • Serial Killer: Louis Roulet.
  • Shame If Something Happened:Roulet makes a veiled threat to Haller about Haller's daughter Hayley.
  • Straight Gay: Frank.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Most of the trailers make no effort to hide that Roulet is very guilty of what he's being accused of; those that don't show it outright heavily imply it.
  • Vanity License Plate: Haller's plate, NTGUILTY.
  • Work Off the Debt: Half of Haller's driver's wages are to pay for his fees.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Roulet shows no problems with making threats against a ten-year-old.