The Maple Turkey-Bacon Donut of Film: Roman J. Israel, Esq.
After several months of not posting anything here, it feels appropriate that my latest review be about something that has lit the fire under me again: Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Starring Denzel Washington as the titular character, Roman J. Israel, Esquire, a savant public defense attorney, this film will take you places!
In order to better understand the title, first, go watch the film (and for any film students: definitely stay for the BtS and deleted scenes)! All caught up? Good!
Roman J. Israel, Esq. is probably my new number one film! I truly believe that everyone should sit down and watch it! In law school? Watch the film. Have a passion for civil rights activism? Watch the film. Film student? If your professor doesn't know about this film, they have failed you. Is this film the best of the best? Maybe.
I hesitate to call it the best film of all time, but it is certainly VERY close. I especially enjoyed watching the interview with Denzel Washington and how he said he, "[has] worked on a lot of movies, but this is one of the better films [he has] been a part of." Great minds think alike! As for the actual film and the story that takes place within it, it says a lot without actually using character dialogue to explain everything.
One shot in particular that I loved was when we first see the inside of the apartment. There is construction going on right next to the exterior wall of his room. He immediately opens his phone, calls the non-emergency number, and rattles off the exact codes and sections that describe illegal noise pollution between certain hours of the day. He then makes himself a peanut butter sandwich and it is right here that I fell in love with this film. As the camera floats around, we see an open shelf with several rows dedicated to nothing but jars of JIF peanut butter. The immediate thought that went through my head was, "oh...he definitely has a routine. He's either crazy, or he's a genius." Truthfully, he's a bit of both and Washington does a fantastic job of slowly revealing the immeasurable mind of Roman J. Israel.
Later on, we learn about the infamous maple turkey-bacon donut, which I truly believe serves as the greatest analogy for this film! What is it? I have no idea, I suppose I should go try it and find out. Is it any good? Yes! Very much so! Please go experience it for yourself! (As for the actual donut, I have yet to try one.)
The ending, however, could have gone sideways very quickly and ruined the whole film. But it did not and this should serve as a testament to the extraordinary cast and crew who created a true work of art! It says it all without actually showing anything. While some people may not like the ending, it certainly took me a few moments to process it, it is wonderfully efficient (unlike this review)!
In essence, Roman J. Israel, Esq. should be seen by anyone who ever wanted to do anything. I know I did, and still do, and this film is the perfect inspiration to keep aiming for your goals no matter what life throws at you!
Stuart "StuFluff" Jenkins