Roman J. Israel, Esq: Film Review

When Denzel Washington was nominated for a Golden Globe for Roman J. Israel, Esq, I was surprised because I didn’t even know the film existed. I had heard nothing about it and its release has been pretty much swept under carpet in the UK, and I understood why when I watched it.

Washington is Israel, a lawyer at a small-time two-partner law firm. When his partner falls into a coma, the family hire fellow lawyer George Pierce (Colin Farrell) to wrap up the open cases and then the business will close, and it was running at such a deficit they can’t give Israel a redundancy package. He takes a job with Pierce’s big-time firm, where he doesn’t fit, and makes a mistake with one of his criminal cases, which leads him to making an even bigger, life-changing decision.

I don’t want to ruin what happens to Israel because that is probably the most exciting and shocking part of the whole movie. Roman J. Israel, Esq. starts off well and was actually very interesting but it goes on too long, gets bogged down with an ill-fitting romantic subplot with Carmen Ejogo, and loses its impact.

It’s not an awful movie at all, it’s just so very meh. It just doesn’t quite come together. The script is excellent one minute and baffling the next and considering this is a movie about one person, you should care about their downfall and what comes of them, but I didn’t really feel anything.

Washington is the saving grace though, because he is fantastic and deserves that Oscar nomination. Israel is socially awkward, really struggles to interact with people and generally rubs them up the wrong way, he is bit of savant and is obsessed with the music on his iPod. He is an odd and intriguing character who just doesn’t fit in a big corporate environment and he was interesting to watch, so it’s such a shame the story didn’t encourage us to care about him that much.

In cinemas now 

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