Another Oscar contender of this Fall season is Dan Gilroy’s follow up to Nightcrawler (2014), Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Denzel Washington is idealistic defense attorney Roman Israel. He is also an odd object, a social misfit. A series of events will operate a drastic change in his life and mentality. Obviously the producers aim to obtain Oscar nod for Denzell Washington or maybe Colin Farrell for a supporting role. It is probably all they could get.
Roman J. Israel, Esq. starts as a court room drama, a tradition in Hollywood filmmaking. The social aspect of it, in the beginning, is quite engaging. Washington portrays a visionary with no social ability. In a way he lives in the past. We are in for a character study. But in a very short period of time, the character’s psychology changes far too abruptly. The legal thriller it becomes, with this peculiar character suddenly betraying deep principles, makes absolutely no sense.
There are lots of missing links as to where Gilroy wants to take us in Roman J. Israel, Esq. Elements never come together. Even the soundtrack made of vintage funk and soul underlines the fact there are two different pictures in one canvas, a director and an actor with opposite visions. In fact Washington may not be aware he is playing in Gilroy’s film.
And, unavoidably, the ship sinks… What a waste.