Roman J Israel, Esq (2017)

When the lead attorney of a firm suffers a heart attack, his behind the scenes partner must step in and handle his court appearances.  His incredible memory and deep understanding of law is undercut by his inept social skills.  Roman J Israel, Esq. follows Roman as he embarks on a new chapter of his life where his social justice roots are challenged by greed and the evolving culture around him.

I do not have much to say about Roman J Israel, Esq.  I was surprised that it was not a biographical film, however glad that new content, original screenplays. are being generated.  In a film environment that is full of remakes, sequels, prequels, spin-offs, etc… it is refreshing to have something new.

It was interesting to see Denzel, as Roman J Israel, play a character that is weaker on an interpersonal level.  He definitely has strengths in knowledge and fearlessness in the face of authority.  He is able walk the fine line between Roman’s strengths and weaknesses.

I really enjoyed the soundtrack in this film, put together by James Newton Howard.  Howard also did a great job on the film Detroit, this year.  I am always a sucker for 60’s/70’s R&B and Jazz, so I am biased in this case.

The story felt like it was missing something.  Maybe it was the 3 week time frame, but it seemed rushed.  Characters went through a solid amount of development, but the three week time constraint made it feel implausible and took away from their journey a bit.  I shouldn’t let something minor like that have such an impact though.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Directed by: Dan Gilroy

Cinematography: Robert Elswit

Written by: Dan Gilroy

Edited by: John Gilroy

Music by: James Newton Howard

Starring: Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo

Runtime: 2h 9m

Genre: Crime, Drama

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

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