Movie ReviewsRoman J. Israel, Esq. – A Great Character Elevating An Inferior Story

Keith NoakesNovember 23, 2017

Roman J. Israel, Esq. premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival to a mixed reaction. To try and alleviate this, the filmmakers have recut the film to give the plot more immediacy which some may enjoy but it didn’t change that much for me. You can find my earlier review of Roman J. Israel, Esq. from this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, originally found here.

Synopsis: Roman J Israel, Esq. is a dramatic thriller set in the underbelly of the overburdened Los Angeles criminal court system. Denzel Washington stars as Roman Israel, a driven, idealistic defense attorney who, through a tumultuous series of events, finds himself in a crisis that leads to extreme action. (Sony Pictures)

Starring: Denzel WashingtonColin Farrell, and Carmen Ejogo

Writer: Dan Gilroy

Director: Dan Gilroy

Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)

Running Time: 129mins


For showtimes and more, check out Roman J. Israel, Esq. on

Writer/director Dan Gilroy made quite the impression with 2014’s excellent Nightcrawler but those expecting more of that here will probably be disappointed. It’s not that this film is bad, it’s just different. The film is about a genius lawyer named Roman J Israel, Esq. (Washington) who after working behind the scenes for so many years, is thrust into the forefront after an unfortunate tragedy. There was a reason that Israel worked behind the scenes and this reason will be evident while watching. Israel did not have the best social skills which often got him in trouble.

Israel was a man of principle, helping the less fortunate but his new situation, working for a high-priced law firm run by a lawyer named George Pierce (Farrell), starts to alter these principles. There was a lot going here story-wise with varying results, however, the story was the most compelling when it was just Israel on screen. He was definitely the most interesting character and the best part of the film. This was because of Washington’s excellent performance, in a much different role. He was very captivating to watch as he simply became the character.

Overall, this was a good drama with a decent story which was at its best whenever Israel was on screen because of Washington’s excellent performance.

Score: 8/10

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One comment

  • societyreviews

    November 28, 2017 at 1:12 PM

    Watching this one later in the slow week

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