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Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Year:
2017
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama
IMDB rating:
6.3
Director:
Dan Gilroy
Colin Farrell as George Pierce
DeRon Horton as Derrell Ellerbee
Jocelyn Ayanna as Court Officer Bailiff
Hugo Armstrong as Fritz Molinar
Amanda Mason Warren as Lynn Jackson
Amari Cheatom as Carter Johnson
Nazneen Contractor as Melina Nassour (Ass't. DA)
Vince Cefalu as Security Bailiff
Lynda Gravatt as Vernita Wells (as Lynda Gravátt)
Tony Plana as Jessie Salinas
Tarina Pouncy as Hallway Bailiff
Sam Gilroy as Connor Novick
Carmen Ejogo as Maya Alston
Denzel Washington as Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Storyline: ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. is a dramatic thriller set in the underbelly of the overburdened Los Angeles criminal court system. Denzel Washington stars as Roman Israel, a driven, idealistic defense attorney who, through a tumultuous series of events, finds himself in a crisis that leads to extreme action. Colin Farrell costars as the monied, cutthroat lawyer who recruits Roman to his firm.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
LQ 1088x648 px 3867 Mb mpeg4 4715 Kbps avi Download
Reviews
So, there is this lawyer who is a bad version of Columbo or Monk, but this is SERIOUS! Because society or something...
and we watch him prance around the screen, and we keep on getting told that he is really, really smart. Except that nothing he does is particularly smart. Its a completely informed attribute. And then there is just more of this guy bumbling around and we keep on being told how intelligent he is....and I am pretty sure if you started watching the film in the middle, or at the end, it wouldn't change anything. Its kind of clever as a character sketch, except the character is not believable, and doesn't go through any kind of development. Really when you see the trailer you get most everything you need to know about the film handed to you. If the film was a bit less pretentious, and took itself a bit less seriously you could just laugh at it. But it won't let you do that, because serious social issues, and a serious actor! But the wig is still really bad, and I don't think it was on straight for several scenes.
2017-11-28
Another edgy, noir(ish) trip in LA with a glorious oddball
Gilroy scores big with Denzel. It's one of his MAJOR works of the 21st century and it makes me so pleased to see a guy in his 60s who could/should be resting on his laurels with a challenging human being to nail. He does a metric-ton of work to create a completely distinctive introvert/savant person we have never seen him do before and it shows. But Gilroy needed to work more on the script; events move along far too quickly given how much does happen to/by/from Israel, and I feel mixed not so much on the very end but on the climax (spoiler: it confirms a trope raised many times on the "Denzel Washington is the Greatest Actor of All Time" podcast). So it is good, at times very good. But it's a teeny slump after the knockout of Nightcrawler, which this feels like a cousin to. I wonder now if Gilroy will create his own 'LA Mental Case' cinematic universe (one can also tell that these are very much stories of the American dream and how the system work; the TV network and Farrell's legal office are by the books and full of "normal" people, and who wants that?)
2017-11-24
Never gets to a boil
Denzel Washington can carry a movie and that is the only reason that seeing this movie isn't a complete disappointment. As a Canadian I wondered if the movie never seemed to get out of the gate because I missed Los Angeles cultural nuances that for the conversant made it filled with purpose. I found that the characters had a lot about themselves and their lives that could have been developed, but only the surface was skimmed. Background was in staccato snippets that left a lot on the table in terms of building depth, drawing me in, or giving me a good reason to keep watching. Not all occurrences in the movie were plausible, which is problematic as the movie aims to be realistic. The character of George was unexpectedly interesting, so that added a star to my bottom line.
2017-12-08
Too much of a good actor.
Denzel Washington tries to carry this movie on his back. He is in every scene. The movie is way to long and way too dialogue driven. It's another example of written and directed by going wrong. There are too many walk and talks. Sit and talks. Characters make long speeches and usually say nothing. After about an hour and a half there's an incident that creates a bit of suspense and finally makes things interesting. Problem it is too little too late.

Maybe Denzel gets a Golden Globe nomination more for a body of work rather then this performance of mostly adjusting his glasses. That bit of business becomes distracting and almost laughable.

There is no need to see this on the big screen. It will play just as talky in the comfort of your own home. Perhaps at home you can fast forward and move things along.
2017-11-27
Denzel in a wig and goofy glasses.... and that's all
Denzel Washington, whom has yet to prove himself to be a high-caliber actor, continues to choose 'wrong' roles that just aren't very interesting.

One of the problems here is the overly-familiar 'defense-lawyer-who-rises-from-the-ashes' story-line. We've seen it, it's been done. Yet here it is again, regurgitated like digging in the trash for the scraps of a meal you ate last week.

As an actor, Washington must focus on portraying a character who is credulous and likable rather than just trying to show the audience how great his acting range is (which isn't very great), this time using 'shock value' by donning an afro and some over-sized funky glasses which mostly makes Denzel look like he's fishing for an Academy Award (which he won't get).

A film which is not particularly well directed with Denzel offering his same old acting schtick. Court is dissolved. Next case.
2017-10-24
Surprisingly flat.
Back in 2014, Dan Gilroy made his first full-length film, NIGHTCRAWLER. For a freshman effort, it's truly amazing as it was one of the best films of the year and was a deeply disturbing but rewarding film to watch. Because of this, I was excited to see a preview showing of "Roman J. Israel Esquire" as the Philadelphia Film Festival. Plus, many were excited because Gilroy managed to get the services of Denzell Washington to star in this film. Sadly, the film was a bit of a disappointment.

The film begins with Israel learning that his law partner has had a massive heart attack. This is a problem because they are the only two in the practice and Israel only works behind the scenes and the partner is the man who tries the cases in court. Apparently, Robert Israel is something like a person with Asperger's...as he has minimal people skills and looks like he's still living in 1975. At first, he seems nerdy and weird but good-hearted. Eventually, you come to realize he's a jerk-face...and that is where the film lost me. Having the lead be a total jerk down deep makes for hard viewing. A mildly interesting film at best and a huge disappointment.
2017-10-25
Keep on Truckin'
Greetings again from the darkness. Denzel Washington is one of our most iconic actors and he's put together a remarkable career, including 8 Oscar nominations and two wins. He's had his Al Pacino SCARFACE comparable with TRAINING DAY, his Robert DeNiro GOODFELLAS comparable with American GANGSTER, and here he gets his Dustin Hoffman RAIN MAN as he plays the titular Roman J. Israel, Esquire. It's a role that lacks Denzel's usual cool factor, but it's one in which he dives head first.

'Esquire' rates "above gentleman, but below Knight" as described by Roman. He has spent more than 30 years as the wizard behind the curtain of a two man law firm run by his mentor and partner William "Bulldog" Jackson. We never really meet Mr. Jackson, as circumstances force the closing of the firm and shove an uncomfortable-with-change Roman into the high profile and high dollar firm run by George Pierce. Mr. Pierce is played by a strutting Colin Farrell – and no actor peacocks better than he.

It's here we must note that Roman appears to have a touch of Asperger's and/or be some type of legal Savant. He's kind of a Dr. Gregory House for the legal profession – remarkable on the details, while lacking in the delivery. His long held idealism and belief system were in fine form while he was the back office guy, but Pierce forces him into the front lines and it's a bumpy transition with sometimes comic and sometimes tragic results.

The film bookends with Roman crafting a legal brief, that while somewhat convoluted, is actually more of a confession, with himself as both plaintiff and defendant. Much of the film focuses on Roman's idealism and revolutionary beliefs, and what happens when that crumbles. There is an odd quasi-love interest with Maya, played by Carmen Ejogo (SELMA). We never really grasp why she is so taken by him, other than his seemingly solid belief system reminds her that a mission of goodness and justice is always worth fighting for.

Writer/director Dan Gilroy is one of the quiet secret weapons in Hollywood these days. His last project was the terrific NIGHTCRAWLER, and he's also written the screenplays for this year's KONG: SKULL ISLAND, and one of my favorites from 2006, THE FALL. Here he teams with Oscar winning cinematographer Robert Elswit (THERE WILL BE BLOOD) to deliver a stylish look that feels unique to the story and characters … the frumpy look of Roman, the ultra-slick look of Pierce, and the various textures of the city. It's really something to behold – especially when accompanied by Roman's ringtone of Eddie Kendrick's "Keep on Truckin'". A couple of cast members worth mentioning: for you NBA fans, Sedale Threat Jr (son of the long time player), and simply for catching my eye in the closing credits, an actor named Just N. Time. There is plenty to discuss after this one, but mostly it's a chance to watch Denzel chew scenery.
2017-11-21
Another Oscar contender for Denzel Washington
Roman J. Israel, ESQ, staring Denzel Washington is out now in limited release and it is already receiving rave reviews from movie critics and has also been nominated for two NAACP Image Awards (Best Picture and Best Actor). It looks like it will be another contender for Washington come Oscar time.

The movie does however suffer from a lack of availability at movie theaters. It's currently showing on just about 1,600 screens nationwide while a movie such as Justice League, in wide release, is showing in about 4,000 movie theaters. So it will take a bit of looking to find the movie at you local cineplex, but it will be well worth your effort.

In the movie Denzel plays the title character, Roman J. Israel, ESQ. He is an idealistic lawyer who has the luxury of hanging onto his civil rights era beliefs since he doesn't try cases. His partner had been the litigation lawyer for the two man law firm, allowing Roman to work on court briefs back in the office, while never stepping into a courtroom. That all changes when his partner suffers a stroke and is hanging on to life in a hospital on life support.

That's when Denzel's quirky, almost Autistic, character traits come into play. First he loses his job in the law firm as the heirs of his partner start to plan for his impending passing. Now, Roman J. Israel, ESQ. needs to make a living so he takes a job in a huge law firm that's headed by his partner's college protegee (played very slickly by Colin Farrell).

Denzel plays a fish out of water with his odd behavior and his inability to grasp the concept of subtlety. He speaks his mind when he shouldn't and even his style of hair and dress is out of place in a modern corporate law firm.

He tries to hang on to his core values by volunteering at a community center working with teens.That's where he meets Maya, played by actress Carmen Ejogo. She becomes his mentee and the two soon become more than friends. She worships him for his values and the struggles he's been through as a advocate for civil rights.

Eventually Roman makes some mistakes in his dealings with lawyers and clients. He shows that he's human and has to give up on some of his principles and ideals in order to survive. He ends up being chased by criminals, after her betrays a client who's in jail, and his world is turned upside down by his mistakes. In the end he tries to make amends for his mistakes and ends up inspiring others by his attempt to make good on the error of his ways.

Roman J. Israel, ESQ is a terrible title for a movie, but it's another winner for Oscar winner Denzel Washington. The movie is rated PG-13 and runs just over 2 hours. On my "Hollywood Popcorn Scale" Roman J. Israel, ESQ gets my highest rating; a JUMBO (with extra butter). Hollywood Hernandez
2017-11-30
Strange Little Movie
I saw "Roman J. Israel, Esq.", starring Denzel Washington-The Equalizer, Deja Vu; Colin Farrell-Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Horrible Bosses; Carmen Ejogo-Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Tony Plana-The Fosters_tv, Ugly Betty_tv. This is a strange little movie. I really like Denzel, and he is good in this, but the movie was not that great. He plays a partner in a Los Angeles law firm. His partner is the hot shot defense attorney that tries the cases and Denzel is the facts guy-he knows everything his partner needs to know, just by memory, without having to look it up. Only problem is, his partner dies. Colin-another lawyer-comes in and scoops Denzel up for his firm, because he knows how smart Denzel is. Carmen plays a woman that runs a center that does lots of protesting for civil rights causes. She befriends Denzel-again, because of his knowledge-and he does some lectures for some of her workers, to help motivate them. Tony plays another lawyer in Colin's firm that thinks Denzel's eccentric ways are just a little too much. Like I said, Denzel is good as his character. It is a little different than most of the roles he has played before. He is real intelligent but shuffles when he walks, keeps his eyes down when someone is talking to him, likes to eat donuts on the beach and he has a gap between his two front teeth-which I read is real. He had caps put in when he was in High school and took them out for this roll. Oh yeah, I did not care for the ending-I won't give it away here, but I think they could have done better. It's rated "PG-13" for language and violence and has a running time of 2 hours & 9 minutes. It's not a bad movie but I was a little disappointed. I would not buy it on DVD. It would be alright as a rental, if you are a fan of his work-like I am-but otherwise, I would wait for it to come to cable.
2017-11-22
See Also
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