Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)
What is not to like about the thought of Denzel Washington being an attorney? His track record speaks for itself. He is a man who can become anyone. I do not remember the last time I was disappointed in a Denzel Washington movie. He is one of the most consistently extraordinary actors of our time. So, of course I wanted to see Roman J. Israel, Esq.
The film is about a stubborn savant, Roman J. Israel, Esq. He is a diligent and methodical defense attorney, who is hopelessly stuck in his ways. When his career is flipped upside down, it sends his ritualistic life spiraling out of control.
The movie was written and directed by Dan Gilroy and the noteworthy cast includes Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo, and Tony Plana.
Great quote from the film: “Every weapon is a tool if you hold it the right way.”
This is not a great movie. This is a meticulous, one man freight train, and immersive performance by an iconic heavyweight, Denzel Washington. This is eloquence in motion and an exercise in character.
In Roman J. Israel, Esq., Denzel becomes his character down to the gap in his front teeth, glasses, mini fro, headphones, precision in speech, mannerisms, and tendencies. He is a diligent and unique man who sticks to his guns, and is still stubbornly listening to records and using paper files. He is an eccentric-minded “Rain Man-like” attorney of sorts
The movie itself, is not anything special. It is good until about halfway through and then it starts to lose its momentum. Denzel keeps it afloat and it sort of redeems itself at the end.
Colin Farrell’s character wafts badass arrogance. His role is a good one, but feels like an afterthought.
Overall this is a great performance in an about average movie. Denzel takes a mediocre film and makes it watchable. It is an Oscar caliber performance. He is submerged in his character. He has multiple performances that are better than this one, but his character dominance in this movie brings it up a notch and makes it worth seeing.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
Training Day (2001)
The Hurricane (1999)
Déjà vu (2006)
American Gangster (2007)
Inside Man (2006)
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Man on Fire (2004)
Antwone Fisher (2002)
John Q. (2002)
Remember the Titans (2000)
The Bone Collector (1999)
The Equalizer (2014)
Out of Time (2003)
Winter’s Tale (2014)
A burglar (Colin Farrell) falls in love with a woman (Jessica Brown Findlay) whose house he was going to rob. After she dies, he finds that he has the power of reincarnation and he tries to bring her back to him.
The Film was written and directed by Akiva Goldsman and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Will Smith, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint, Kevin Durand, Matt Bomer, and Graham Greene.
This does not look like your average love story. It is a story of reincarnation as almost a form of time travel. The idea is intriguing and the cast is excellent. I think I’ll have to check this one out.
The movie is set to release on 02/14/14 (Valentine’s Day)
Dead Man Down (2013)
Dead Man Down is a tale about grief, pain, and especially revenge. The film is a bit of a puzzle. I especially enjoy movies that make you think and figure things out for yourself instead of spelling it all out for you. This story pieces itself together little by little as events unfold and eventually everything becomes clear. By doing this, the movie keeps your attention because you are focused on what will happen next.
Although the movie was filmed in New York, it has a foreign independent movie feel to it. This is not only because there are a number of foreign actors and actresses in the film, but because the whole movie has an almost exotic feel to it. Instead of focusing on landmarks to tell the viewers where the story is taking place, this movie almost does the opposite. You can tell that it takes place in a big city, but the filmmakers decided to film in less obvious parts of the city. Instead of getting big helicopter views, they give you a view from a rooftop or a balcony. It seems like the story is intentionally confined to a smaller area. Maybe this makes it easier for people all around the world to believe that what is happening in the film could actually be happening in their home town. It is just an interesting aspect of filmmaking that I have never thought of before.
I like Colin Farrell but I am always a little leery of his movies because they are usually hit or miss. Lately he has been choosing his characters a little more wisely (Seven Psychopaths (2012), Total Recall (2012), Horrible Bosses (2011)) and this movie was no exception. His character is a no-nonsense tough guy and he plays the part well.
Terrence Howard brings a lot of energy and charisma to the film. He has a very Denzel Washington-like way of taking over the scenes that he is in and making his presence known. I think that this is his best role since The Brave One (2007).
After watching her delicate performance in the movie, Noomi Rapace has convinced me that I should check out her Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (2010) that she is most known for. Her character in Dead Man Down seemed very genuine.
Armand Assante has basically a cameo appearance. I was a little bummed that he wasn’t in more of the movie.
The movie was a little drawn out at times. Some of the action sequences seemed a little convenient. The story might be a little hard to follow if you’re not paying attention. But, overall it was an entertaining and unique film.
I rate this movie a 7.5 out of 10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.