Denzel Washington was Oscar-nominated for his role here as a socially awkward defence attorney, but he’s much better than the film, writer-director Dan Gilroy’s disappointing follow-up to his gripping 2014 debut movie Nightcrawler. An uneven mix of legal thriller and character drama, Roman J. Israel, Esq finds Washington’s idealistic back-room lawyer struggling to adapt to a more public role after his partner goes into a coma. With roles for Colin Farrell’s slick legal hotshot and Carmen Ejogo’s civil-rights activist, the plot gets rather contrived. But Washington, sporting a shaggy Afro, baggy suit and shambling walk, is never less than compelling.
Certificate 12. Runtime 122 mins. Director Dan Gilroy
Roman J. Israel, Esq available on Digital, and on DVD from 11 June.