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Roman J. Israel, Esq.


Writer/Director Dan Gilroy is one of my favorite emerging filmmakers. His "Nightcrawler" with Jake Gyllenhall is a must see and his script for "Kong Island" was plenty of fun.

Gilroy continues his winning streak here with the challenging, thought provoking character study ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ.

Denzel Washington is brilliant in his Oscar nominated performance as Roman. With an incredible savant memory and grasp of the legal system, but possessing no social skills, Roman has served for years as the behind-the-scenes legal mind in a law practice.

When his partner falls ill with a heart attack, Roman is suddenly thrust into the front office, the courtroom and society in general.

Gilroy unspools the story carefully, slowly opening up Roman's world and forcing us to watch his uncomfortable immersion into everyday Los Angeles.

Washington is powerful playing a complicated man with a very rigid moral code, more than a few eccentricities, an exact method of doing everything, no awareness of current attitudes and a complete disregard for modern technology.

When his law partner appear to be gone for good, the firm brings in younger, hugely successful lawyer George Pierce to take over and liquidate the practice.

Colin Farrell has never been better than he is as the wealthy man who becomes fascinated with Roman and his bizarre talents.

The last half of the film is surprising and challenging as Roman shocks himself (and the viewer) with some of his choices.

Gilroy and Washington pair up to put you inside Roman's mind, with all its whirling mechanics and terrified reserve.

Carmen Ejogo (Selma) is very good as an activist inspired by Roman. Tony Plana (24, Havana) is Pierce's partner with little patience for Roman and Amanda Warren (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri) is terrific as the daughter of Roman's law partner.

Washington towers over the entire movie, thrilling you as he discovers a new lifestyle or a new experience and moving you when his exploration bites back.

There were moments in the second half that I almost got angry, feeling like the Roman I've watched would not make some of the choices he does. Credit Gilroy for surprising you by the conclusion, rising above any creeping feelings of familiarity.

Another superb movie from Gilroy, my verdict is a solid, appreciate A.

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