Writer: Dan Gilroy (Screenplay)
Starring: Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo, Lynda Gravatt, Amanda Warren, Hugo Armstrong, Sam Gilroy
Plot: Roman J. Israel, Esq., a driven, idealistic defence attorney, finds himself in a tumultuous series of events that lead to a crisis and the necessity for extreme action.
Tagline – All rise.
Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Slow Lawyer Heavy Movie
Story: Roman J Israel Esq starts as legal defence attorney Roman J Israel Esq (Washington) who doesn’t attend the courtroom and helps his partner win his cases with his legal mind. When his partner falls into a coma, George Pierce (Farrell) takes over the business, looking to close the firm, but he sees something in Roman, believing he could be hired to help with his own case load.
Roman agrees to help with a charity with young lawyers, run by Maya Alston (Ejogo), while needing to learn how to be part of a team, rather than using his knowledge to put people down, being one of the few people that wanted to be a lawyer for the right reasons.
Thoughts on Roman J Israel Esq
Characters – Roman J Israel Esq is a genius in the law field, he can memorise every case, knows how to solve the case with logic before getting into a courtroom, only he doesn’t go to court, he helps his partner do the lawyer side of the cases. This does make him come of anti-social at times too, he does want to help people when other people don’t listen to their voices. He goes through his own Epiphany which will see him changing, because of one incident, this will see him facing a conflict in his head about his future. George Pierce is the lawyer for the big firm assigned to close the small firm, he sees the skills Roman has, deciding to hiring him to help with his own cases. Maya runs a charity for people who can’t afford lawyers, she is happy to let Roman help out, she sees the good he has to offer people and in him.
Performances – Denzel Washington was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in this film, he doesn’t really shine on the levels we know he could, he handles the character well though, considering he is in nearly every scene of the film. Colin Farrell as the lawyer for the rich firm is strong as always in the supporting role, while Carmen Ejogo completes the main cast well.
Story – The story follows Roman J Israel an attorney that works for a small firm only to see that one close down and him getting a chance in a big law firm, where his own good natured mindset can be left behind when temptation comes his way. The problems with the story are clear, because we don’t get to see Roman doing any real courtroom lawyer work which seems like why he is hired, the mindset he has isn’t bought forward soon enough to see his change for enough of an impact either. We are meant to be dealing with one man going to far which just doesn’t end up being as interesting as it should be.
Crime – The crime side of this film comes from what Roman does, leading up to his crime before showing us the consequences.
Settings – The film is set in the locations you would expect to see a lawyer operate, we see the small firm, the big firm and the charity firm he could work for, where he is driven to make his own choices.
Final Thoughts – This an interesting if not slow moving lawyer based movie, it tries to do something different which should be praised, but it never reaches the potential it had.
Overall: Doesn’t hit the required marks.