Movie of The Week
Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Two out of Four Stars
Written by Dan Gilroy
Directed by Dan Gilroy
Release Date: November 17, 2017
Starring: Denzel Washington
Roman J. Israel, Esq. is a quirky character with what may be a photographic memory. He recites legal pros with ease and can remember cases from twenty years back. Israel has the makings of what we need to see more of in the legal realms, but the movie is missing a lot of things.
The best part of this movie is Denzel Washington, and that is not because he is a sex symbol, but because he is a brilliant actor. I couldn’t think of another actor, black or white, male or female that could have pulled this off in such a fantastic way. Denzel should get an Oscar nod for his performance.
Now, about the script. I am not sure how the film got made. I know that the Gilroy’s are big in Hollywood, so maybe that is how they slid this one in, but the script left way too many questions.
We know that Israel is passionate about the law and that he thinks the system sucks, but there has to be a backstory as to why and we never find out what it is. While running around making a mess of the lives of everyone he encounters, for the most part anyway, we see his passion, and we hear his cry, but nothing goes right…nothing. Why is that? If I wasn’t asking myself the question of what the hell is Denzel wearing, I was asking myself the question of what the hell is Denzel talking about? It was too loose of a script with no backbone to solidify the result of the film. Did Israel need to die? I would think not. Was it that simple? I would think not.
The entire film we watch Israel carry around this huge briefcase with a huge brief in it that he has been working on forever, but we don’t really get any of the goods on what the brief/class action suit will do for the people or the cause that Israel is so passionate about.
In closing and without apprehension, I say that this is a great performance by Denzel Washington, but I have no such kudos for Colin Farrell or Carmen Ejogo who seem to be lurking in the darkness of the lost words of the script.
If you have a choice, wait for the DVD or go to the dollar movie if they still have those where you are. I am waiting patiently for the Equalizer II.