Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)

An offputtingly aimless and long and plodding and centred around a misfire of a performance from Washington. There’s elements that work, but it’s so damn overlong and formless that it’s hard to hang onto them. Parts of Washington’s character are likable but too often he’s either a cipher or overplayed and offputting.

When the film dives into actually exploring his character, around halfway through, it works fairly well, especially when playing him off Colin Farrell, but it steeps itself down in the muck of…setup (I suppose – not entirely sure what for, since so little variation happens in the film, to the point that often I was wishing it had covered it’s titular character’s oft-cited backstory instead of his present) for far too long. The film feels strangely out of time; I thought it was set in the 1970s for quite a while, but it’s very much in the present day.

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Director Dan Gilroy is clearly skilled, his “Nightcrawler” was strong work and he did brilliant work in the extensive reshoots for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, but this just doesn’t come together. It misfires in some ways strange enough to be somewhat interesting, but most of the time it’s just poorly paced and oddly performed. Two bagels and an old suit.

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