The Lincoln Lawyer Blu-ray Review
The Lincoln Lawyer comes to UK Region B-locked Blu-ray complete with the same near-perfect – and certainly demo-quality – video transfer that adorns the US release. Presented in 1080p High Definition, in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen, this may not be flashy summer Blockbuster material, but it’s slick and glossy nonetheless, with superior clarity throughout, excellent detail, no signs of softness, and no signs of any intrusive digital tinkering – like oppressive edge enhancement or DNR. If anything, the detail is often a little too much, not holding back when it comes to exposing the pasty plastic-surgery-enhanced visages of some of the cast members; but that’s not a real fault of the transfer, just the actors’ choices. The colour scheme is often skewed one direction or another – a bluey green tint for some scenes; flashbacks desaturated and hazy; memory moments likewise – but the palette is always presented richly and vibrantly, with vivid tones at all ends of the spectrum. Black levels are solid, making for excellent shadow definition, and with a little bit of 3D pop to the piece, this really is a lovely image.
On the aural front, although we don't match up to the US release with an identical DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix, we do get a similarly great DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Of course, as a legal thriller, the mainstay is dialogue – it’s the whole drive of the piece. Yet, despite being more atmospheric than bombastic, the soundtrack excels at creating said atmosphere, in almost every scene you find yourself in across the movie. The aforementioned dialogue largely emanates from across the frontal array, dominating it for almost the entire runtime. Effects range from traffic-related noises to playbacks of the vicious assault, with keen attention to detail, which allows the surrounds to provide some well-defined atmospheric input. The score is not particularly standout, but also not quite the usual generic, thematic effort you’d expect for a formula thriller like this, and works well with the material, also providing the surrounds with plenty to do when the dialogue sporadically drops out. Bass comes in many shapes and sizes, even without overt explosions and Big Screen bombast, rearing its head when the bikers roar onto screen, for example – making you wonder whether a Hell’s Angels troupe has decided to do a drive-by outside your house. Despite the inherent restrictions of the material, this is a quality rendition, which edges its way into demo territory. I can't imagine it sounding significantly better in 7.1.
The Lincoln Lawyer comes to Blu-ray with a package that is a little bit light in terms of extras. You have to wonder why none of the people involved wanted to invest in an Audio Commentary – particularly when fans would have clearly wanted to hear from the lead star, the director and, especially, the writer himself. Still, the extras aren’t your usual fluffy, EPK stuff, and are certainly considerably better than nothing.
Making the Case: Creating The Lincoln Lawyer spends the best part of the quarter of an hour looking at adapting the bestselling thriller for the Big Screen, with all the requisite cast and crew snippets – McConaughey and Connelly are, thankfully, a mainstay throughout all the extras – and a little bit of behind the scenes footage.
Michael Connelly: At Home On The Road has the writer taking us on a tour around some key Los Angeles locations, relevant to the movie. Again, far from fluffy, this 10-minute jaunt, whilst enjoyable, still doesn’t make up for the lack of Commentary from the guy.
One On One McConaughey and Connelly is perhaps the biggest disappointment, mainly because of my expectations given the title. It’s woefully short, at little over five minutes in length, but thankfully does include some interesting background trivia and reflections on the role, and what the actor did to bring the character to life in a way which stayed true to the source material.
Here we get a total of four minutes of extra footage – nothing vital, just a few extra moments, mostly focussing on the relationship between the lead character and his on-off ex.
Finally there’s a Trailer to round off the disc.
The Lincoln Lawyer isn’t a groundbreaking legal thriller following the mould-breaking path of the excellent, intelligent Michael Clayton, which took the largely formulaic sub-genre and turned it on its head. No, instead, it sticks to the tried-and-tested formula laid out by top-of-their-game entries like A Few Good Men and The Firm, and then made cliché by all of the other Grisham adaptations out there, and provides a decent, but unexceptional addition to the group. Driven by a quality lead performance from Matthew McConaughey, who, for once, isn’t selling out; and bolstered by its slick efficiency, there may be no great originality in this piece, but it still hits the spot as an effective, entertaining legal thriller.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray, released hot on the heels of the US equivalent, we get the same spectacular video and audio (albeit dropping a couple of channels on the audio track), and the same neat but unadventurous selection of extras; making this a win-win situation for fans of the film who seek to pick up the title on either side of the pond. Newcomers who enjoy the occasional legal thriller, should find this a diverting bit of entertainment, a welcome rental, or even a blind buy if you like titles within this sub-genre. It may not even attempt to provide anything new to the tried-and-tested-and-flogged-to-death formula, instead merely trying to do exactly what’s been done before, only in a fresh, highly polished, stylish and effortlessly cool way. Rather than aiming for greatness, and failing; The Lincoln Lawyer just wants to be a good movie, and easily hits that mark.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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