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Roman J. Israel, Esq.

6.52 h 2 min2017X-RayHDRUHD16+
Denzel Washington stars as an idealistic defense attorney whose life is disrupted when the activism that has defined his career is challenged.
Dan Gilroy
Denzel WashingtonColin FarrellCarmen Ejogo
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Lynda GravattAmanda WarrenHugo ArmstrongSam GilroyTony PlanaDeRon HortonAmari Cheatom
Denzel Washington
Columbia Pictures
Content advisory
Foul languageviolence
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4.4 out of 5 stars

3599 global ratings

  1. 68% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 17% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 9% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Stephen M. KerwickReviewed in the United States on April 9, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Not a Standard Lawyer Film
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This was that one of the rarest things in Hollywood, an unusual main character with a plotline that remains constantly in doubt and is by no means predictable. In the last year or so, Washington has really demonstrated his range as a dramatic actor and is in the process of establishing a real legacy for himself as a major leading actor. A lot of his better stuff, A Soldier's Story, Glory and others, has still involved one dimensional, predictable characters. This is most certainly not true with Israel, which is written and acted with a great feel for the dehumanizing meat grinder of large city criminal courts. There is little real glory or heroism here, and that is as it should be. Where the story pushes the limits of credibility, it does so for very good teaching points. This one clearly provides two well-spent hours for the viewer.
43 people found this helpful
Joel BalinReviewed in the United States on February 20, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Denzel and cast do an amazing job taking us through the complexities of public service and career conflicts.
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This movie is excellent and underrated for the same reasons: It portrays the characters as real people with real complex internal and external struggles. It refuses to take political, racial or social sides and therefore doesn't give satisfaction to the myriad critics who would look for a movie like this to make social statements rather than be the powerful character study in the paradoxes we all live under and with. Denzel does an amazing job playing a savant who is functionally on the autism spectrum without making it a caricature.
76 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on February 13, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Denzel given interesting character but then makes unbelievable jump in the story
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The movie begins with Roman J. Israel (Denzel Washington) admitting that he committed a crime and that he should be punished for it. The story is about what he did.

This was a different kind of role for Washington. Usually he plays very strong willed and feisty characters. Israel is that but he’s an intellectual. He’s also much older than Denzel’s usual roles and social awkward on top of that. He’s an idealistic lawyer who resents the criminal justice system where prosecutors threaten defendants with lengthy sentences so that they accept a plea deal that is also harsh but that avoids going to court thus denying them a trial by jury. This is all a good start and then the story goes off the rails. He screws up on a case and that leads him to break the law which was what he referred to in the opening. It’s just too much of a jump.
3 people found this helpful
Julia MimsReviewed in the United States on May 13, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
What realistic view of the states judicial system
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I have wanted to see this for a while. I came across time and opportunty to see this, just today! There are attorneys and then there are ATTORNEYS. Some are in the calling for the money and fame and others to actually help those unaware of the law, to make the best decisions. Why does it always see to take someone who lives pain to want to help others while there are those who create pain and want to look good doing it never seeing the reality until it is too late. Sadly this movie ended the way one would figure the true good guy paying for choices made and the one who could have had a more pivotal part finally seeing the light and wanting to be the change he could have, yet chose not to until the credits. Many choose to not see wrong because they can never see themselves being wrong only others..........
The lost one star is because most films imitate the life many will not or does not want to speak of, isn't it time for a change?
One person found this helpful
WATCHERReviewed in the United States on April 24, 2018
3.0 out of 5 stars
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I thought the movie was pretty good in the beginning, we learned that Roman J. Israel was relegated to doing case research in an office with his civil rights minded partner since he graduated from college. He had EXTREMELY POOR people skills but a clear, unquestioned, knowledge of the law. I felt Colin Farrell was wasted in his part as a corporate lawyer who was trying to MAYBE get into so probono litigation in order to cleanse some of the stains on his soul he developed while trying to get rich at any price.
It is OK to watch, a little depressing in the last 1/3 but OK enough to put in your collection.
7 people found this helpful
Greg J.Reviewed in the United States on May 19, 2022
2.0 out of 5 stars
Inaccurate and biased
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In my opinion, this movie gets five stars for the acting talents of Denzel Washington and the rest of the cast, but one star for the biased moral premise that the legal system and plea bargaining in particular favors the rich and robs the poor and/or minorities of equal representation. The writers conveniently disregard the fact that plea bargaining is always for a lesser sentence than is required by law, not equal or greater and is applied equally to all "classes" of society. Also, Roman bemoans the "excessive" sentences for what he considers petty crimes, which are all class "A" felonies in the movie. Instead of filing a fantastical brief, that was poorly described in the movie by the way, he should have run for political office and tried to change the sentencing laws through legislation.
EBReviewed in the United States on August 21, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Brilliant character study
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This is a character study of a paralegal who has lived with a single minded devotion to social justice. The lawyer he works for dies. His cases are taken over by a former student who became a corporate attorney. Roman J. Israel, Esq., who lived in a time capsule & in a state of penury, joins the corporate law firm after an unsuccessful job search and a mugging. He joins the other side, made financially possible by fraud. Stellar performances by Denzel Washington and Colin Farrel, who hold his own against Denzel Washington.
One person found this helpful
PRIVATEReviewed in the United States on April 1, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Only Denzel can acted a movie like this.
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Good unreal story, if it was not for Denzel it would only a regular slow movie that makes no sense. This actor is prove that Hollywood lacks talents like his. Great actor. Can play any role he please
12 people found this helpful
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