Dan Gilroy has all the pieces to make something remarkable, but he just can't seem to make them fit together. The tone is very uneven, trying to be cynical and heartfelt all at once. The central character starts off with a number of fascinating facets, but then Gilroy keeps adding more traits than he knows what to do with, making the character bloated and Washington's performance unsteady. "Nightcrawler," it is not.
A frustrating feeling emanates. The movie is centered around depicting a (legal) system that has shown to be at best resistant - and at worst designed to be insusceptible - to change, but advancing such an idea is less descriptive of a problem than it is participatory in its logic. Robert Elswit kills it tho.
Roman J. Israel, Esq. is one of the most interesting, *fictional* characters in film this year. He is a reflection of how man's ideals are slow to catch up with social changes, and how actions motivated by well-intentioned, individual mindsets sometimes hurt more than they help. Denzel Washington and writer/director Dan Gilroy team up to make a tremendous metaphor if you can handle occasionally messy pacing.
A good film that has its heart in the right place, is well made, is well written, has a great performance by Denzel, but its ending feels rushed & too much of a comforting illusion to what came before. It wants to venture into darker, more noir-like waters but the film tacks on a bit of a Hollywood facade and a pseudo-happy ending to a story largely about corruption, greed, betrayal, dehumanization, and hopelessness.
The film's ending of Collin Ferrell's character leading the fight against the system is a misfire at best. It should have been Maya taking on over based on the fact that roman choose her as hist successor in the criminal justice battles and the fact that the bougie lawyers were seen as the enemy in the film so it's illogical and disingenuous to believe that a rich white lawyer will be the savior of the masses.
Enigmatic. If Nightcrawler is an anti-capitalist sledgehammer.. this is a.. ??? Not quite sure. But they feel connected. Nightcrawler is villain thriving in our fucked society, Roman J is hero's struggle. The thesis = freedom and dignity don't exist and EVERYONE is complicit in this state of affairs. This bleak vision resonates w/ me more than similar-ish movies that are, in the end, nothing more than redemptive pap.
Not sure what Gilroy was trying to say: Do we all sell out? - Yes? Or is selling out an eventuality? - Sure? And if we do sell out then we have to die because we sold out? - Um, I hope not? I think it would have worked better with less extreme consequences and a more consistent tone. On the plus side it had a really good soundtrack and I really liked that long dolly shot at the end.