“I’m tired of doing the impossible for the ungrateful.”
For anyone who has ever felt like you fought the good fight but you never seem to quite make it where you want to be, this movie should speak to you. I know it spoke to me. Who hasn’t been that employee who keeps their head down, does the right thing, only to see others prosper by being cutthroat? You begin to wonder what it would be like to switch to the other side, just for one day, just for one moment…
Directed by Dan Gilroy, Roman J. Esquire is the story of a defense attorney who finds himself in this exact situation. The movie paints his character’s background as an activist, a person who fights for those who don’t have the power to help themselves. He thrives in this environment and seems to find his sense of purpose in that world. However, this all comes crashing down when he is laid off due to forces outside his control.
Roman (played by Denzel Washington) is approached by a fellow lawyer (played by Colin Farrell), to join his firm instead. You see Roman being ridiculed by the firm’s younger, more inexperienced staff. You see him fight against the current of manipulating loopholes to win cases. You see him outperform the other staff most handedly, drafting docs and covering files with sticky notes full of questions & concerns, recalling information on old cases like its imprinted in the back of his mind. You see his expertise, you know he deserves better, you know he has been the product of bad luck.
So when Roman comes face-to-face with one decision, you are torn as to how you want him to answer. Does he take the hard path again? Does he take the quick and easy path instead? When he does decide, you can see the rock-bottom of human nature and how one decision can cause a ripple-effect in your life and of those lives around you.
Without giving too much away, I will say that I didn’t see the ending coming. It was one of those movies that leaves you at the end, still sitting there digesting it all as the credits roll.
Denzel delivers. I love Colin Farrell’s work but wish maybe his character could have had a little more development. I would have liked to have seen what made him cutthroat, what made him deviate from the path that Denzel’s character chose.
Overall, my rating: 4 reels out of 5.