Roman J. Israel Esq.          review by Bobby Blakey

One of the greatest working actors in my opinion is Denzel Washington. There has yet to be a performance from him that I did not love no matter how the rest of the movie was and most of those are great overall projects. Surprisingly his latest film Roman J. Israel Esq. seemed to slip under the radar and not get the promotion his films normally receive. With another of my favorites Colin Farrell along for the ride could this be yet another great entry into this iconic actors resume or will it fail to prove its case?

Roman J. Israel Esq. follows Roman Israel, a driven, idealistic defense attorney who, through a tumultuous series of events, finds himself in a crisis that leads to extreme action leading a monied, cutthroat lawyer to recruit him to his firm. Once again Washington proves he is a master of his craft bringing to life a memorable character that is multilayered and unique. The story is initially pretty simple, but quickly turns into a struggle of principals for this character making it an intriguing story that is worth every minute. Ferrell has a more laid back role, but one that is more layered than you might expect and does a great job here, but this is Washington’s show all the way.

Clearly his character is a savant or something due to his OCD and insanely perfect memory that makes the character standout without ever making it really a thing. They never feel the need to explain away his behavior and it’s not necessary as you can easily see it unfold in front of you. It’s the attention to detail in not only his look and behavior, but also his surroundings at the office and home that bring the character fully to life. I loved seeing Roman’s journey from back office to where it takes him that is filled with joy, confusion, passion, principals, heartache and redemption.

The underlying truth to this characters journey is one that speaks to us all in this time on multiple levels. I was moved by the overall passion he fought for and the struggle to evolve with the times knowing this was the wrong way of handling things. The ending of the film was one that I was impressed they went with as it is a perfect full circle to the character, but also to life and the lesson of why you shouldn’t fall to the things you rise up against. I loved this movie and the performances by them all with an ending that not only evolves the characters, but showcases the impact one person can have one multiple people without ever knowing it.

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