Tag Archives: Roman J. Israel Esq.

I Don’t Want to Go Out – Week of February 12

Let’s say it’s Valentine’s week and you don’t care. You and your hairy legs or Cheeto-bedecked beard want to avoid that Hallmark cash-in in favor of some quiet time with a great movie. Good news! Loads of really good stuff comes out this week! Good times.

Click the movie title for the full review.

The Florida Project


Blade of the Immortal

Roman J Israel, Esq.


The Screening Room: Holidays, Lawyers and Billboards

Welcome to The Screening Room. This week we take a look at new theatrical releases Coco, Three Billboards Outside Billing, Missouri, Roman J. Israel, Esq., Novitiate and I Remember You. Plus, we’ll help you pick through new home entertainment.

Listen HERE.

Trouble Man

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

by George Wolf

Roman J. Israel is a character. And Roman J. Israel, Esq. is a fine character study, one that can’t quite use that device for all the resonant insight it’s aspiring to.

Last time out, writer/director Dan Gilroy rode a very similar formula to spellbinding heights with the brilliantly slick and cynical Nightcrawler. Though Gilroy’s writing is often just as sharp in this legal drama, a third act buoyed by sentiment and idealism weakens the film’s overall effect.

Sadly, Denzel Washington is wildly miscast as the titular Mr. Israel.


Sustained. Of course, Washington is characteristically terrific as a savant-like attorney with decades fighting for civil rights amid the “dominant tendencies of society.” Slowly, he’s seduced by the dark side, succumbing to the high-rolling lifestyle that comes with working for the suave and successful George Pierce (Colin Farrell).

As Roman moves from one world to another, Gilroy rails nicely against the systemic inequalities of our justice system, with Washington’s seemingly effortless brilliance bringing the nuance needed to make Roman’s moral waverings feel authentic.

They do, and the film has a nice groove going until Gilroy needs to find himself and Roman a way out of what they’ve boxed themselves into. Suddenly scenes are feeling padded and resolutions a bit tidy, and you’re waiting for the dreaded grand courtroom speech that’s destined to torpedo all these good intentions.

Thankfully, Gilroy’s instincts are better than that, leaving Roman J. Israel, Esq. with his integrity still intact, just a little dented.