Denzel Washington is a terrific actor, he possesses that vast capacity to lose himself in his characters—and he’s once again on his game in ‘Roman J. Israel, Esq.’
When the owner of a small law firm becomes incapacitated, his employee, Roman J. Israel, Esq. (Denzel Washington) steps in and attempts to salvage the clientele. Sounds fairly ordinary—however Roman, who is brilliant is equally awkward and it becomes quickly apparent why he spent years behind the scenes at his firm.
Colin Farrell turns in an understated performance as the guy who is charged with taking over the small firm—and giving Roman a chance to shine at his large company.
Director/Writer Dan Gilroy creates a long drawn out character study. The movie is slow and the story drags—I waited and waited for something to happen—yes there is one thing that happens—but frankly I didn’t care—it took too long to get there.
BTW the film is described as a thriller—it’s not.
There is one character that at times steals the movie from Washington and that is the city of Los Angeles. Shot in all its urban decay and high- flying downtown construction, the city’s grit makes you feel as lost and alone as Roman.
Denzel Washington is in almost every scene—and the script becomes too much like a long monologue. Did I mention the film is long? Well, the film is long, too long.
Sorry Denzel, (my fellow Fordham Alumnus), great performance, but the film didn’t keep up.
Roman J. Israel, Esq. opens November 17, 2017.