THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN

THE GOAL FOR 2018: 200 MOVIES WATCHED BY MIDNIGHT NEW YEAR'S EVE!  (AFTER TOPPING OUT AT 194 in 2017)

CAN HE DO IT?

​​THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN

ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ (2017)


OK, color me cynical but when this little-know film scored Denzel Washington a Best Actor Oscar nomination, I thought he had just stolen the nom from James Franco and The Disaster Artist on reputation.  When I actually watched the film, I was surprised at his unexpected performance – and thought Denzel was better here than he was for Fences last year!  He plays the title character who is kind of a savant, working in a two-person practice where he is (wisely) kept in the office to do the planning, writing and research.  One day, the other attorney suffers a massive heart attack and Roman is told to go to court to ask for continuances.  Of course, he doesn’t, trying to plow ahead.  He has NO filters, wears a dated bedraggled suit with a shaggy Afro and manages to screw up a number of cases with his unwitting bluntness and demeanor.  I don’t remember seeing Denzel playing a character like this, with his unkempt appearance, constantly pushing his gigantic glasses up his nose, and not being to express himself with anything but run-on sentences or short word blunt and inappropriate answers.  It’s an excellent performance and Denzel is rightly being recognized for it.  The movie is not more than OK – when the other attorney is incapacitated the firm is dissolved, leaving Denzell without work.  Colin Farrell, also very good as a highly successful former student of that attorney, after a struggle, convinces Denzel to come work from him.  And boy is that a tough transition!  He has to emerge from the 70s (his apartment and music looks like a museum from that era) and try to fit in a little bit.  The plot has him doing some things that get the extremely principled attorney in serious trouble and that’s not nearly as interesting as watching Denzel inhabit Roman J. Israel, Esq.  This film is worth your time for the lead actor’s brave, unpretty and highly entertaining performance.


TLA one word review: intelligent