24 July 2011

Capsule Reviews: “The Lincoln Lawyer” and “Unknown”

Having missed both “The Lincoln Lawyer” and “Unknown” on their respective theatrical runs I caught up with them on DVD, the results pretty mixed. Instead of writing up the usual longish style of review, I’ve decided to implement a “Capsule Review” element to the site, allowing me to offer my opinions on slightly less relevant pictures without wasting needless time. My usual reviews will still be integral and regular, but I feel for less important cinematic offerings this Capsule method is the best way to advance the blog.


2011, 113mins, 15
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer (s): Oliver Butcher, Stephen Cornwell
Cast includes: Liam Neeson, January Jones, Frank Langella, Diane Kruger
UK Release Date: 4th March 2011

A scientist (Liam Neeson) loses his identity in wintery Berlin, left bemused as his wife (January Jones) and various imposters deny his existence. This thriller commences with an effective tinge of paranoia, holding its own for roughly 40 minutes. However once the twists start occurring and shady side characters begin to enter the frame, it loses focus, placing too many of its eggs in the brainless action basket. The ultimate revelation, whilst tough to predict, is also pretty unimaginative. Director Jaume Collet-Serra (also behind 2009’s much more entertaining “Orphan) shoots competently, but weak writing and poorly defined characters leave this mystery cold.


The Lincoln Lawyer
2011, 118mins, 15
Director: Brad Furman
Writer (s): John Romano, Michael Connelly (novel)
Cast includes: Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei, Bryan Cranston, Josh Lucas, William H. Macy
UK Release Date: 18th March 2011

This fairly ordinary but undeniably polished Michael Connelly adaptation gives Matthew McConaughey his best role in ages, but the rest of the film has trouble keeping up. McConaughey plays Mick Haller a roughish defense attorney with loose morals. Happy to help his scummy customers beat the system, Mick endures a crisis of confidence when he starts to suspect a client (a cool Ryan Phillippe) might be a hardened serial killer. Directed slickly by Brad Furman (escaping his DTV origins), the film unfolds at a crisp pace, utilizing its strong supporting cast (including Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy and Bryan Cranston) resourcefully. The middle act features some nice touches and cranks the tension up admirably, although it can’t totally heal the feeble climax. It’s probably worth a rental for McConaughey’s performance though.

Reviews by Daniel Kelly, 2011


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