Roman J. Israel, Esq.
A lawyer wakes to a changed world.
The new Denzel Washington movie “just should have picked one story and told it,” said David Sims in TheAtlantic.com. Instead, it wastes a fine performance by its star, swerving—“like a distracted driver”— between a handful of competing plots. Washington plays idealistic lawyer Roman Israel, who, because he’s on the autism spectrum, hasn’t changed his habits or done much besides paperwork since about 1979. But when his law partner dies, Roman is forced to engage with the world again, and the film “bursts with energy” anytime he’s compelled to adapt to something new. Even as the side plots pile up, “it’s all Denzel all the time,” said David Edelstein in NYMag.com. Watching him here is “like watching a great pitcher take something off his fastball.” Turns out he can toss in some stuttering and still dominate. ■