Rated: PG-13 for language and some violence. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: November 17, 2017 Released by: Columbia Pictures
Denzel Washington follows up his sternly sinewy performance in his extolled Fences with another turn as a legal professional after Jonathan Demme's poignant Philadelphia opposite Tom Hanks.
In Roman J. Israel Esq., he's the autistic titular character thrust into the public limelight after his gregarious law partner succumbs to a terminal illness and finds his way into skeptical, virtuously conceding situations. A backroom draftsman of the Civil Rights Era is now sort of like a fish-out-of-water in the Black Lives Matter movement.
Along the way he'll become romantically involved with a socially active teacher (Carmen Ejogo from Sparkle"and Selma) while taking a shot at a showy firm with a slippery, cutthroat CEO (Colin Farrell of The Beguiled and The Killing of a Sacred Deer).
Washington's reclusive maladroit afro-coiffed fellow is an interesting choice that allows him to stretch a bit from his more familiar roles, but his noteworthy turn is upended more often than not by the puzzling, not up-to-par writing from director Dan Gilroy (who worked much more assuredly with Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler— the LA underbelly of freelance camera crews).
Roman likes the appended courtesy title to his surname, but dealing in the actual courtroom settings in the advocacy for change just doesn't prove to be very harmonious or perceptively pleasing. But, Washington's polished abilities again don't go unnoticed in this bromidic, indecisive effort where story and character aren't really that devoted to each other. Like a counselor and client should be.
|Roman J. Israel Esq||B||C||C||C+|