Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Roman J. Israel, Esq. has been doing brilliant behind-the-scenes research for his law partner for 26 years. Three weeks ago the partner had a stroke and is now in a vegetative state; the executor for his law firm has been summoned. Our movie opens with Mr. Israel dictating the text of a lawsuit in which Roman J. Israel, the prosecutor, is suing Roman J. Israel, the defendant, for breaking the law. Now we are interested.

Writer/director Dan Gilroy ("Nightcrawler") has custom fit his story for Denzel Washington because he knows what this Academy Award-winning actor can do. And watch Mr. W. do it! Look at his mannerisms: itchy, twitchy, and uncomfortable; look at his walk: rambly, shambly, and flatfooted.

Part of Gilroy's cast:
  • Denzel Washington ("Fences") Roman is a 70's throwback. Look at his glasses, his afro, his clothes. He has a photographic memory and NO social skills; we suspect a touch of Asperger's.
  • Colin Ferrell ("The Beguiled") Roman's partner was George Pierce's law professor. This sleek, elegant attorney presents a humiliating contrast to our rumpled hero.
  • Lynda Gravátt ("Madam Secretary") Vernita Wells has only one thing to say, "Get a continuance." You'll see what she means!
  • Carmen Ejogo ("Selma" she was Coretta Scott King) Maya admires Roman's idealism. Now she is concerned about his actions.
This is rated PG-13, so expect a bit of profanity, a moment of explosive violence, the threat of vehicular mayhem and a single gunshot. You'll smile at his peanut butter and groan at his courtroom etiquette, but you won't be bored. A small complaint: much of the dialogue is spoken quietly, closed captions would have been appreciated for our screening.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Check out his manners!
* * * * * * * * * * * *