But for someone who has spent their entire career, fighting for others, Roman makes a decision that seemingly contradicts everything he identifies with.
“Without telling the movie, redemption is a big part of it’s ending,” Gilroy said. “Roman spent four decades fighting for what he believes in, only to make a choice that. I hope people will question what drove him to seemingly let go of what he spent a lifetime fighting for.”
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At one point during the film, Roman states, “Each one of us is greater than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” They are familiar words, uttered by the lawyer and social justice activist, Bryan Stevenson during his 2015 TED Talk.
It is no coincidence that Gilroy would have Roman utter those words in the film, as Stevenson has committed himself to the justice system through his organization Equal Justice Initiative.
Gilroy began working on the film at the height of the 2016 presidential election season. After his first film, “Nightcrawler,” he took notice of the political and social climate at the time and thought back to a time in his childhood — the Civil Rights Movement.
People would claim, he said, that issues of racism, injustice, and inequality had been resolved since the 1960’s. Gilroy considers such statements “utter ignorance.”
“This country has never dealt with what I consider to be a fragile issue in a real way. We live in a world right now where people need to stand up for what they believe,” he said. “I remember how, in 1969, the world was on fire for activism. I was 10. Civil Rights. Anti-war. I thought I was entering into that kind of world.”