Teen authors David & Laura Lee (Inspire us to write)

David T. Lee (15 year-old of 5 books, published a 4,500-word sci-fi at 7); Laura T. Lee (13 year-old of 2 novels, published a 62,000-word novel at 10)

“Roman J. Israel, Esq.” definitely has its flaws, but Denzel Washington’s acting is superb

Written By: David T. Lee - Feb• 19•18

Last week, I watched “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”, which is a drama about the legal system. Focusing on its titular quirky character, it shows how his uptight and secluded life as a partner in a legal firm is destroyed when the other partner, William Henry Jackson, has a heart attack. Roman eventually makes several unethical and illegal choices as a result and pays a heavy price. Meanwhile, he gets hired into a much larger firm led by George Pierce (Colin Farrell), where he eventually gains popularity.

The film starts with a nearly overly dramatic scene which hints towards the ending; in it, Roman is typing a legal complaint against himself while referring to events that happen later on in the film. This beginning sets the tone for the movie as a definite drama, albeit one sprinkled with some lightheartedness and silliness. Denzel Washington’s Oscar-nominated performance as Roman is spectacular. Apart from the obvious credits listing him in the lead role, Denzel is unrecognizable. Compared to last year’s “Fences”, for which Denzel got another Oscar nod, I believed his role in “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” to be much more interesting and watchable. Certainly, his performance is the best part by a mile; without someone as talented as him, the film would’ve fallen flat (indeed, the director states in the special features that the movie was written with Denzel in mind). However, his character seems unrealistically eccentric: while entertaining to watch, Roman becomes nearly cartoonish in some scenes.

A solid set of supporting actors, including Colin Farrell, is another positive. Unfortunately, one major flaw is the pacing. Nearly half of the movie focuses on observing Roman’s character; as such, when the film suddenly switches back to the main plot, the change is abrupt. The whole movie drags a little as a result, then rushes through its main storyline. Also, there is a twist ending, but it too was quite sudden; while shocking, there could’ve been a better way to end the story. Much of this movie is dialogue: while it is quirky and sometimes funny, some people could be a little bored. Still, there was definitely lots of effort devoted into the film, giving it an energetic feel.

Overall, other than some pacing issues, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” is still a good watch for people looking for something different than mainstream films. I would recommend it for those who can stand a bit of dialogue and the general premise about lawyers.

Until next post,


Roman J. Israel, Esq

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