Hard-nosed liberal lawyer Roman J. Israel has been fighting the good fight forever while others take the credit. When his partner – the firm's frontman – has a heart attack, Israel suddenly takes on that role. He soon discovers some unsettling truths about the firm – truths that conflict with his values of helping the poor and dispossessed – and finds himself in an existential crisis that leads to extreme actions.
In truth, there is barely enough story here to make a film.
The shine of start and a dull, empty end.
Te end destroyed the whole film.10 points for the beginning of the film, 7 for the middle and 1 point for the end.It is quite obvious that poking at the mentality of Americans and their society is allowed only to a certain extent, beyond censorship or self-censorship, if the critic wants to continue living normally there.Denzel is a very good actor, atmospheric. It is a pity that his era is going away...
Denzel Washington derserves an Oscar for his performance in this film! I wanted to be Roman's friend and felt for the character. With more plot driven scenes and a better script it could have been epic.
One star for Carmen Ejogo and one for Colin Farrel for so perfectly losing their foreign (British Isles) accents and one star for Denzel's nasty boy performances in Man On Fire and Training Day...
If I had known beforehand this was written and directed by the same person I would not have wasted my time. Chefs cook the food, waiters serve the food. If I want the two jobs done by the same person, I'll have supper at my Mom's.
Why would Farrel feel the need to warn Israel about the supposed "reach" of a some pathetic loser in prison for life for robbing a convenience store of $500 and who, exactly, was supposed to pay his legal fees of $2500 a day...the parents of this criminal mastermind that robs 7-11s or his friends from juvenile detention?
Want an anti-hero, scumbag lawyer in a gritty legal drama...watch The Night Of with John Turturo on HBO.
"Reciprocity is the first law of human nature." Denzel in "Roman J. Israel, Esq. (above a gentleman, below a knight).The script actually said the first law of nature, which, we know he must be looking at humanity in a microscope, not the Earth.But, for us humans, this is where we should start. There's reciprocity of the country/trade kind, then there's the emotional kind. An older activist lawyer stayed his course all his life until he didn't. When he sees what he's really done against his own inner wisdom, he returned the money he took in a moment of need for himself and for payback for the man who killed his client, he disbars himself, and even forgives himself and goes to turn himself in. Full circle humanity.