Roman Israel, Esq—the movie formerly known as Inner City

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  • M
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    #1202174965

    Day-Lewis should be done winning Oscars. Three competitive leading acting wins is enough for a lifetime acknowledgement.

    Maybe, but I doubt Day-Lewis sees it that way. He’s always in it to win it, and is low-key the most efficient Oscar campaigner this side of George Clooney.

    The whole “greatest living actor” thing (kicked off by that Time cover) helped Day-Lewis win his third Oscar. If he could work the “greatest living actor is retiring” angle, a fourth might be within his grasp. But that strategy loses a bit of it’s effectiveness if he’s in direct competition with a generational peer whom pundits are also making a claim to be the “greatest living actor” in Denzel. The last time Denzel was in a race with Day-Lewis, Denzel wasn’t recieving that kind of acknowledgement. This time he is, so it puts a much more interesting complexion on any race between the two, if it does come down to them.

    Washington maybe the only nonwhite nominee this year who’s competitive to win an acting category.

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    Bee
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    #1202175070

    When was the last good performance from De Niro? Don’t say Wizard of Lies I hated that movie and he did absolutely nothing in it.

    He did nothing in it? What? It wasn’t a good movie but it was definitely a good performance. SLP still wasn’t that long ago, he was great there, and showed when he picks the right project he’s still one of the best. I didn’t see this, but he also received good reviews for the intern, and is generally considered the best part of his many bad projects in recent years. Not that the last 15 years are the only thing that matters anyways.

    He phoned it in for Wizard of Lies and did what the script told him to do in SLP. He’s not good anymore and he’s just lazy.

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    KirbyNicholson
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    #1202175104

    If we’re talking about dead actors it’s Brando if it’s living it is a three way race of Day-Lewis, Nicholson, and Pacino

    "We will always have Paris"

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    distain
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    #1202175142

    If we’re talking about dead actors it’s Brando if it’s living it is a three way race of Day-Lewis, Nicholson, and Pacino

    I’ve thought this for awhile, but dead or alive, I think Denzel’s going down as the greatest ever, even over the ghost of Brando eventually. There’s just something flawless about his execution,and somehow his power and depth has never degraded over the years or been rendered into caricature (which you could possibly say about Pacino, DeNiro and Nicholson. And I’ve loved the work of all those guys at varying points of their careers, but I don’t think any of them hve been as consistently truthful in performance over their careers as Denzel).

    Denzel’s interesting in that he has the talent, charisma and ability to be a show-off onscreen all the time. He could literally be Pacino, who often goes wild for the sake of it. But Denzel retains a sense of meticulousness. He doesn’t give a performance to serve his ego (though he clearly has one, as all the greats do), but to suit his character. If he feels a character needs to be underplayed, he’ll underplay. Even if he could potentially get more notice or accolades by going “big”. He he gives a “big” performance like Fences, it’s an event, because he does not do that type of charactrisation gratuitously.

    I feel like Jack Nicholson (for example) turned The Departed into a bit of a cartoon by giving the performance he did. It just felt like pure actors ego at work. Nicholson wanted to have the showiest character, but it came off inauthentic. I expect that type of thing from guys like Nicholson or Pacino. I don’t expect from Denzel, and if he did it, I’d be disappointed. His instincts just seem more pure somehow.

    Day-Lewis is a great actor, but doesn’t have anything close to the same connection with audiences that Denzel has (or someone like Brando had). Day-Lewis is more like a Frederic March for his time (March was also a fantastic actor, but he didn’t connect to audiences the way someone like Brando did).

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    KirbyNicholson
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    #1202175300

    Fair points on the three but Brando imo is the standard of an actor. Convincing,Good Looks, and charisma shape him up.Denzel is great he probably is the greatest black of all time, but to me no one broke barriers like Brando even if he was a fat nutjob

    "We will always have Paris"

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    M
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    #1202175552

    Fair points on the three but Brando imo is the standard of an actor. Convincing,Good Looks, and charisma shape him up.Denzel is great he probably is the greatest black of all time, but to me no one broke barriers like Brando even if he was a fat nutjob

    What a reductive way to classify Washington as merely the best of the blacks. He’s not even that if you wanna go there.

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    KirbyNicholson
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    #1202175623

    Sorry I meant by black actors forgot to add that my apologies and Denzel is really great and I feel bad about describing him on his race rather than talent.I meant to say Brando is greater than Denzel. Sorry if I translated that wrong

    "We will always have Paris"

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    distain
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    #1202200238

    Roman Israel, Esq will be premiering at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/denzel-washingtons-roman-j-israel-esq-gets-world-premiere-at-toronto-2017-1034236

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    Andrew D
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    #1202200243

    I also think washington doesn’t give two craps about awards and make the movies he wants when he wants ..

    “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
    ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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    M
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    #1202200292

    I also think washington doesn’t give two craps about awards and make the movies he wants when he wants ..

    He cares about awards but he does not choose projects solely to chase them.

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    Andrew D
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    #1202200328

    I mean in the sesne that he doesnt make them for awards or push for his projects to become awards pieces .. i think he respects them

    “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
    ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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    distain
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    #1202200343

    I think he likes awards and he likes recognition when it happens. But he defintely reached a point in his career a long time ago, where it’s not exactly a priority for him to choose a project based on awards potential. He’s won everything on stage and screen. He’s going back to broadway next spring, but it’s not like he’s desperate for another Tony award. He just loves to act.

    So I’d agree, he does what he wants.I think he’s going to end up doing more award/oscar type films mainly as a consequence of his getting older. He can’t keep credibly doing action roles much longer, so I can see him settling in character leads with interesting directors like Gilroy.

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    Andrew D
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    #1202200395

    I think he likes awards and he likes recognition when it happens. But he defintely reached a point in his career a long time ago, where it’s not exactly a priority for him to choose a project based on awards potential. He’s won everything on stage and screen. He’s going back to broadway next spring, but it’s not like he’s desperate for another Tony award. He just loves to act.

    So I’d agree, he does what he wants.I think he’s going to end up doing more award/oscar type films mainly as a consequence of his getting older. He can’t keep credibly doing action roles much longer, so I can see him settling in character leads with interesting directors like Gilroy.

    yea i agree and i think as a filmmaker himself he has gravitated towards more “important” stories which tend to be more oscar baity roles.

    “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
    ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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    distain
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    #1202210951

    A 4 star review from The Guardian calling Roman J. Israel, Esq a “richly rewarding drama with one of the best and most lived-in performances of the year and says Washington has never been better”….kind ink from the UK Press so far. Wonder if BAFTA will break a lifelong habit and nominate Washington for this? Especially after the noise his last snub caused.

    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/sep/12/roman-j-israel-esq-review-denzel-washington-toronto-film-festival-tiff

    Roman J. Israel, Esq. review – Denzel Washington captivates in unusual legal drama
    4 / 5 stars

    A nervy, compelling performance from the Oscar-winning actor dominates this unconventional morality play from the writer/director of Nightcrawler

    ‘An awkward title and a strange plot trajectory will make Roman J. Israel, Esq. a tough sell but this is a richly rewarding drama blessed with one of the best, most lived in performances of the year ‘ …

    Benjamin Lee
    Tuesday 12 September 2017 14.57 BST Last modified on Tuesday 12 September 2017 14.58 BST

    The movie star charisma of Denzel Washington has led him, deservedly, to the top of the A-list but has also steered him away from showcasing his considerable and transformative talents as an actor. As his fame has increased, there have been crumbs left along the way but too often he’s been stuck in substandard action territory, an understandable business decision but a regrettable one nonetheless.

    Last year, his adaptation of Fences allowed him to show just how equipped he still is, and would have made a far more deserving best actor winner than a sleepwalking Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea. He’s probably hoping for better luck this season with yet another meaty role in unusually quick succession. But his latest, the poorly titled Roman J. Israel, Esq., might prove a little too unusual for the Academy and for audiences too.

    Israel is a socially awkward, idealistic lawyer who is relegated to an office-based position within the law firm he co-partners, his eccentricities and rigid adherence to the law better suited to a role behind the scenes. But when tragedy strikes his partner, Israel is left without a job and forced into a world that’s unfamiliar and unwelcoming. He finds himself tapped for a job by the slick head of a larger firm (Colin Farrell) and, through an unlikely set of circumstances, Israel’s life rapidly begins to change.

    Like writer/director Dan Gilroy’s previous film Nightcrawler, Roman J. Israel, Esq. works best as the character study of a man who never usually gets to take centre stage. Initially, Israel seems like the sort of semi-autistic legal genius that we’ve come to expect on the small screen, a brilliant renegade wowing courtrooms with his unlikely charm on some repetitive CBS procedural. But there’s far more here to chew on and Gilroy isn’t interested in cliche or providing us with a series of satisfying gotcha moments.

    Israel is a by-the-book, true believer in the importance of following the letter of the law. When he’s finally allowed inside a courtroom, he’s dismayed that in practice those around him aren’t quite as steadfast, and there’s a lingering poignancy as he gradually loses touch with his core values in a bid to survive in the real world. He’s a relic of sorts, a civil rights activist from another era who believes that the system is in need of widespread reform and in another package, those he meets might be impressed with this. But he’s an odd proposition, uncomfortably dressed and almost always wearing headphones, a savant lacking in social skills.

    It’s not a role we’re used to seeing Washington play, his hugely underrated performance as a haunted soldier in The Manchurian Candidate probably coming the closest, but he’s never been better. There’s nothing overly mannered or visibly rehearsed about his work here, he just disappears into the character, a difficult task for a star as familiar as Washington. He’s so captivating to watch that at times I wished he was headlining a 10-part Netflix series, his daily trials proving endlessly fascinating.

    Given the career renaissance he’s recently enjoyed, it’s a somewhat regressive role for Farrell, playing the sort of hotshot he was stuck playing in his early Hollywood career and there’s a subplot with Carmen Ejogo as an activist that doesn’t always ring true, but even in the film’s less successful moments, I admired the loose shagginess of it all. It’s structured in a way that will frustrate many viewers expecting an involving Nightcrawler-esque thriller, but it’s the sort of patiently plotted mid-budget drama that rarely gets made nowadays. Gilroy’s script is alive with detail and deft characterization, and it’s become a cliche to compare a film like this to the cinema of the 70s, but Gilroy almost forces the comparison with a score and soundtrack that, like Israel, live in the past.

    It’s a haunting and timeless American tragedy that feels ever prescient given the current administration’s foggy understanding of morality. It might prove to be a tough sell thanks to an awkward title and a strange plot trajectory, but Roman J. Israel, Esq. is a richly rewarding drama blessed with one of the best, most lived-in performances of the year.

    Roman J. Israel, Esq. is screening at the Toronto film festival and will be released in US cinemas on 3 November and in the UK on 1 December

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    Ramses23
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    #1202211010

    Another review from Screen Daily that calls the film “a fascinating but flawed character study” and praises Denzel’s performance.

    https://www.screendaily.com/reviews/roman-j-israel-esq-toronto-review/5122294.article

    Denzel Washington gives a terrifically off-kilter performance in Roman J. Israel, Esq., a fascinating and flawed character study that frustratingly can’t meld all its ambitions into a coherent and satisfying whole. Writer-director Dan Gilroy presents the story of a profoundly peculiar attorney who responds to an unexpected moral crisis in a manner which is as unpredictable as anything else in this overlong, thoughtful film. As a result, Roman keeps us engaged, even charmed, by its scrappy spirit — even as it goes off the rails.

     

    The audience may not be sure what to make of Roman, but Washington’s commanding performance leaves no doubt that the Oscar-winning actor understands him completely. There’s an internal logic to this lawyer’s uncomfortable, prickly behaviour, and Washington conveys a vulnerability that’s rare for him, giving us a portrait of a proud, anxious man who has advocated for the marginalised for so long that he views every situation as a potential battle.

     

     

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