Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)


“The real enemies aren’t the ones on the outside, they’re on the inside. ” – Roman J. Israel

Number of Times Seen – 1 (27 Jan 2018)

Brief Synopsis – After the partner of an expert defense attorney has a heart attack, his life and career begin to spiral downward so he does all he can to try and save it.

My Take on it – This is a film that I heard about a few months back due to Denzel Washington’s portrayal of the main character.

I had also heard that the story itself isn’t so good so I was quite baffled last week when Denzel was able to garner an Oscar nomination.

This film is totally unbalanced and we never really know what we should think about the main character.

On the one hand, we are meant to sympathize with him in numerous scenes yet in other scenes, we see him as a kind of joke.

The dialogue tries to be quite intelligent and witty yet instead it comes across as being quite convoluted and we never quite understand what they are trying to say here.

The problem is that buried deep down there is a really good story here but it is camouflaged so well that we never actually get to find out what it really is.

Washington is able to transform himself physically due to a “fat suit” and a large afro and in some scenes he’s unrecognizable.

This is a pretty mediocre film with a convoluted lead performance, so I guess that the fact that Denzel got another Oscar nomination for this role proves that he is the male “Meryl Streep” and can get nominated for just showing up.

Bottom Line – Not such a great story because it is so unbalanced. part of the time we are meant to sympathize with him while other parts want us to not like him at all. The dialogue tries too hard to be intelligent and witty and many scenes come across as really confusing. There is a good story buried deep down here but it is hidden so well that we never get to actually see it. Washington does a fine job losing his usual self in this role and that is helped by a big hairdo and even a “fat suit”.  I’m now even more shocked that he was able to get an Oscar nomination for this messed up role in a convoluted story.  Guess the Academy voters really really like Denzel. Perhaps he’s the male Meryl Streep.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – In the film there’s a visible gap between Denzel Washington’s two front teeth. He had the gap fixed with dental caps sometime after high school, but decided to remove them for this role. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy

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2 thoughts on “Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)

  1. Your review is pretty much what I had heard about this film – and the reason I didn’t bother to see it – and why of the 45 nominations in the top 8 categories – the lone one I have not seen – is Denzel’s for Best Actor. I agree with you that he seems to be on auto-pilot (a la Ms. Streep – who I also did NOT think merited an Oscar nod for The Post) with the Actors Branch voters – many of who (10%) are newbie voters in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy – and many of whom (IMO) do not deserve to be voting for the Oscars – as many of them have very tiny footprints (if at all) in FILM. Most are TV actors, stand up comics etc. The Academy is dealing with a bug bite problem that could’ve been handled with a fly swatter by aiming a cannon at it and blowing off a limb.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 2017 |

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