by Christina Nicole
Denzel Washington stars as the titular character in Roman J. Israel Esq., about a legal savant, who appears to be on the Autism Spectrum, his convoluted relationship with the law, and taxing transitional period in his life.
The film begins with Roman’s legal partner and the face the legal firm going into the hospital following a cardiac episode that leaves him comatose. Roman is then tasked with obtaining continuances for the firm’s open cases, a task that proves to be unnecessarily difficult.
The film takes a bit too long to establish the extent of Roman’s character quirks. The set up isn’t even worth the “pay off”. Denzel’s acting is really good, because he has never appeared so uncouth. His character is like the sand in your bathing suit you can’t to get out: irritating.
Colin Farrell does an okay job acting in this film, and so does Carmen Ejogo. The chief complaint about Carmen is that her accent isn’t consistent throughout the film. The accent starts American and gets consistently more British, without every becoming completely British.
The film as a whole is just ok. It isn’t particularly good and it isn’t entirely bad. It is slow and tiresome; members of the audience will likely check the time or their phones, thinking the film should be almost over, only to find they still have just more than an hour left. The last 25 minutes of the film are pretty, but the hour and 30 minutes that precede them diminish the impact.
Roman J Israel, Esq. gets 2 of 5 stars, and a word to the wise not to waste their time or money on it.