Denzel Washington's Movies Reviews

I believe without any shadow of doubt that Denzel Washington is one of the most gifted actors to ever grace the big screen. He is not only very handsome, but also charismatic. He is an actor whose movies I seek like guilty pleasures, and the ratings I unveil hereby are testaments not only of my devotion, but also of his acting skills. Among the Denzel’s movies that I have seen, I have only rated The Taking of Pelham 123 (♦♦♦) with so-so marks. In the Taking of Pelham 123, Denzel, who stars opposite John Travolta, is a traffic supervisor whose job consists in directing the route of NY City’s subs. Travolta is the criminal who kidnaps the train and its passengers in exchange for a handsome sum of money. Where have I seen that before? This movie is a remake of a more successful film, and I don’t think Denzel lacks luster in this installment; it is the movie that lacks finesse. That plot has been explored and exploited endlessly before, so this remake doesn’t make sense. In contrast to Pelham, American Gangster (♦♦♦♦♦), The Great Debaters (♦♦♦♦♦), Inside Man (♦♦♦♦), Déjà vu (♦♦♦♦), Man on Fire (♦♦♦♦♦), The Manchurian Candidate (♦♦♦♦), Antwone Fisher (♦♦♦♦♦), John Q (♦♦♦♦♦), Training Day (♦♦♦♦♦), Remember the Titans (♦♦♦♦), The Bone Collector (♦♦♦♦♦), Fallen (♦♦♦♦♦), The Siege (♦♦♦♦♦), Courage Under Fire (♦♦♦♦♦), The Preacher’s Wife (♦♦♦♦♦), Crimson Tide (♦♦♦♦♦), Philadelphia (♦♦♦♦♦), Much Ado about Nothing (♦♦♦♦), The Pelican Brief (♦♦♦♦♦) and Glory (♦♦♦♦) are all great movies in their own right.

In American Gangster, Denzel starring opposite Russell Crowe (another acting powerhouse) as a drug lord that becomes very powerful thanks to a drug brand in great demand but that kills people much faster than any other. Russell Crowe is the policeman who, with persistence, brings down the Mafioso and forces him to cooperate with authorities. The duel between these two stars sets the screen on fire. In the Great Debaters, sadly missed at the Oscars, Denzel excels again, but this time he directs as well, just as he does in Antwone Fisher. In the Debaters, Denzel is the founder of a debate team in an African-American college in the 1930s, which with scholarship, determination and class, wins a debate against Harvard University. Along Denzel’s, there are impressive performances in the film, particularly Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) and his son’s, Denzel Whitaker, also his son in the movie. The speech that wins the debate is both provocative and profoundly moving. Antwone Fisher is one of my all-time favorite movies. It is, at once, sad and inspiring. Antwone is a young sailor sent to undergo a psychiatric evaluation due to his propensity to be involved in fights. An incredible bond is established between the youth and his psychiatrist who forces him to confront his horrible past and to face the future with faith and optimism. This film is based on a true story and the performances of both Derek Luke (Catch a Fire) and Denzel Washington make it unforgettable.

The following four movies are also among my favorites: Man on Fire (♦♦♦♦♦), The Siege (♦♦♦♦♦), The Pelican Brief (♦♦♦♦♦) and Crimson Tide (♦♦♦♦♦). In Man on Fire, Denzel is the American bodyguard of the only child of a wealthy Mexican family. When the child is kidnapped under his supervision, this man will stop at nothing to get the child back safe; a devilish twist which I will not reveal makes the film even more perverse and enjoyable. In The Siege, numerous suicide attacks by Muslims extremists in NY City buses, force the US Army to patrol the streets of NY and imprison NY City’s Muslim male population to prevent future attacks. Annette Bening (American Beauty, Being Julia) and Tony Shalhoub (Monk) along Denzel Washington deliver splendid performances. This film is also unforgettable due to the eerie similarities with the September 11 attacks on NY City, which prompted the History Channel to replay the movie every anniversary. In The Pelican Brief, Denzel is Gray Grantham, a Washington Post reporter who is contacted by law student Darby Shaw (Julia Roberts) regarding a brief that she has written and given to her lover and for which she believes her lover has been assassinated. This film has it all: conspiracy theories, oil politics and assassinations. It is fast paced and intense and the consequences of the Brief’s disclosure resemble the domino effect of the Nixon’s administration. In Crimson Tide, Denzel as the second officer in command of a US Navy submarine during the Cold War is forced to confront his captain over the possible outcome of a message that was cut off during transmission. The confrontation between Gene Hackman (The Firm) and Denzel Washington makes the movie memorable a-la-The Hunt for Red October.