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 Post subject: Roman J. Israel, Esq [2017]
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:55 am 
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http://frdennismoviereviews.blogspot.com/

Roman J. Israel, Esq [2017] (written and directed by Dan Gilroy) tells the story of a fictionalized quiet, behind-the-scenes African American civil rights lawyer by that name (and wonderfully / compellingly played by Denzel Washington).

Clearly somewhere on the autism spectrum, Roman worked quietly preparing briefs for his partner William Henry Jackson, the public face of their two person law firm. Then near the beginning of the film, his partner, never seen, has a heart attack and dies some weeks later.

Enter Jackson's sister, Lynn (played by Amanda Warren). She soon informs Roman that "from the family's standpoint" her brother William's "crusading" had long been a drain on the family's fortune and that in the name of the family, she was liquidating his two person law-firm. Her brother's remaining cases (and Roman, if he so desired...) she wished to hand-over to a long-time family friend and once student of her brother's when said crusading brother had taught law at a local university. The family friend was "a white guy" named George Pierce (played by Colin Farrell) who had since become a rather big-time corporate lawyer in town.

Roman and George certainly knew each other, but just as certainly didn't respect each other: George initially saw Roman as a charity, even basket case, one who he was considering giving a job to at his quite successful law-firm _only_ for the sake of his relationship with the Roman's deceased partner William and then the rest of the Jackson Family. Roman, in turn, saw George as the worst kind of lawyer -- a sellout. Perhaps Roman would not have been as appalled if George had not been a student of his beloved, now deceased partner. However, since he had been, how could he possibly have gone over "to the dark side," quite amorally seeking _above all_ to "merely make money" for his work (rather than seeking to make the world, through one's work, a better place)?

So Roman tries initially to get another job. Yet both his moderate autism and his attendant stubbornness quickly alienates him from a local (and modern) civil rights advocacy group, whose local office was run by Maya Alston (played quite convincingly by Carmen Ejogo).

So what's Roman to do? This would be a difficult situation for someone "not on the spectrum." But here he was dealing with multiple crises and disappointments and not necessarily being the most capable of the flexibility needed to successfully adapt. So he responds to this wave of change and disappointments in rather knee-jerk (if understandable fashion) ...

And ... the rest of the story follows.

It all makes for a quite thought-provoking (and discussion provoking) film:

(1) What is our primary motivation in work and even in life? Merely to "succeed"? to make (a lot of) money? or to make the world (or at least that part of the world around us) a better place?

(2) How do we see those who are "different" around us? Do we see them merely as burdens / problems to manage (away if possible)? Can we imagine learning significant things from "others" especially those who appear "burdensome"? And perhaps most fascinatingly, can we come to understand that those people who we look down upon, may actually have quite developed (and not particularly flattering) opinions of us as well?

Interesting / thought provoking stuff ;-)
Will try and see this. Looks interesting.

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