The trailers for “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” make the movie look stylish and fun, especially since it stars Denzel Washington, and is written and directed by Dan Gilroy (“Nightcrawler”). Then the reviews have been in the mixed, and I have been appreciating the acting more than the story.
Washington plays Roman J. Israel, Esq., a defense attorney, sent to cover the position of his idol William Henry Jackson, who just had a heart attack, and eventually passes on. Before his death, Roman is greeted by George Pierce (Colin Farrell), a lawyer from another firm, who offers him a job. At first, he rejects his offer, but when he fails to find other jobs, he ends up working for him.
The only turmoil I was able to grasp was Roman calling the police with an anonymous tip on a shooter (Amari Cheatom), and earns reward money. Unfortunately, he and George must represent him.
And then there’s a connection between him and a civil rights activist named Maya Alston (Carmen Ejogo). She finds his words to be inspiring, especially when he makes a speech at one of her meetings.
I’m convinced Roman has some form of Autism based on his same attire, headphones, and major studying of the judicial system and the laws. Gilroy also wrote an Autistic character in “Nightcrawler” (at least that’s what I believe), so I wonder if he is fascinated in Autistic people.
Washington gives another likable performance playing a lawyer who knows the judicial system by heart, and is never dry on his humor and dialogue. He is able to adapt to his situations.
But the problem with the movie is the story. It was mostly hard for me to get involved in the world of lawyers. After all, I never studied Criminal Justice. I have seen better lawyer movies, but “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” could have been better. There were times I cared about, and times when I was forced to rely on one-liners for help. I can’t be doing that.