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Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)


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)

Flight (2012)

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)

Philadelphia (1993)

Ricochet (1991)

Glory (1989)

2 Guns (2013)

The Equalizer (2014)

Out of Time (2003)

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Death Wish (2018)


Death Wish (2018)

Why do we like vigilante justice?  I think that it is because someone does exactly what we are thinking should be done or we would like to do, ourselves.  Also, vigilante justice in the movies is often portrayed as sticking up for ones that cannot stick up for themselves.  If you are like me, then you enjoy rooting for the underdog.

Death Wish is about a doctor who decides to take matters into his own hands after an attack on his family.  He decides to find the men responsible and serve up his own form of vigilante justice.

The movie was directed by Eli Roth and the noteworthy cast includes Bruce Willlis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Dean Norris, Camila Morrone, Beau Knapp, Kimberly Elise, Len Cariou, Jack Kesy, and Ronnie Gene Blevins.

I am not usually one to be into remakes.  It seems like Hollywood remakes or reboots just about everything these days.  Often, I say leave well enough alone, but sometimes the right remake idea comes along and the right actor is cast in the lead role.

In this case, Willis was very fitting for the role in Death Wish.  It was his best performance since Looper (2012).  He has been making a lot of B-rated straight to DVD movies lately, so it is nice to see him return to his former glory.  I am glad to see that he has not gone the way of Nicolas Cage (spitting out one piece of trash after the next).  Death Wish is a one-man-show and Bruce was clearly up for the task.

This movie is a scary concept because of how realistic it is.  What I mean by that is that it shows just how worthless the police department and justice system can be sometimes.  Too often, it is the people that deserve to see justice be done, that are the ones stuck without any justice at all.  It also goes to show just how vulnerable we all are.

The likable Dean Norris has quickly been typecast as the police or detective type thanks to the success of the television series Breaking Bad.  His part in this movie is good, but it does quickly make you think of Breaking Bad.

There are a few noticeable gruesome scenes in this movie that had Roth’s signature all over it.  So far, I believe that this film is Roth’s best work as a director.  He did a terrific job setting the tone of Death Wish and sticking with it throughout.

It has been a very long time since I have seen the original Death Wish (1974), but watching this version has made me want to go back and watch the original sometime soon.  The new film is a quality remake done with today’s technology.  The original movie is now 44 years old and it shows its age.

This movie is a murky suspense/thriller with good old fashioned popcorn-popping action.  Willis as the protagonist doing bad for good reasons will keep you on the edge of your seat hoping that justice gets done.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

Death Wish (1974)

Death Sentence (2007)

The Brave One (2007)

The Boondock Saints (1999)

Man on Fire (2004)

The Equalizer (2014)

The Punisher (2004)

Sin City (2005)

Harry Brown (2009)

RED (2010)

RED 2 (2013)

John Wick (2014)

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

Prisoners (2013)

Defendor (2009)