The Insider is not a movie about the law per se. Like most Michael Mann movies, it’s about men engaged in an operatic, high-stakes dance with each other and with their fates, coming together and splitting apart in a flurry of paradoxically macho sensitivity. It’s about the sacred bond between a journalist and his source, and the troubling divide between the noble work journalists do and the corporate interests of their employers. As such it’s one of the great journalism thrillers; there’s no heresy in mentioning The Insider in the same breath as All the President’s Men. But there is, in fact, a lot of law in The Insider, and a fair number of lawyers.
Lawyers, Guns and Money: An Occasional Series on Movies, TV and Other Stories About Lawyers and the Law
Michael Clayton (2007, Dir. Tony Gilroy)
Is Michael Clayton a lawyer movie? It’s a fair question, given that the main character isn’t really a lawyer. He operates in the dark corners of the legal profession, trying not to get too dirty, until he reaches a point where he can no longer look at himself in the mirror. Played by George Clooney, Michael Clayton isn’t the kind of movie to supply an unequivocal happy ending. Having settled accounts, Michael climbs into the back of a New York City cab, hands the driver some money and tells him to drive — anywhere. The credits roll over Clooney’s pensive face.
Created by David E. Kelley, adapted from the Michael Connelly novels, The Lincoln Lawyer series piles up legal and ethical dilemmas in the service of drama and suspense. The key ingredient: Manuel Garcia-Rulfo’s Mickey Haller, a Los Angeles defense attorney who stays likable even when he seems to slither as much as he strolls. Texas entertainment and arts critic Chris Vognar provides a peek into Season 2, which resumes Aug. 3.