Title: The Judge (Official Site)
Tag Line: Defend your Honor.
Release Date: 10 October 2014
Runtime: 141 min
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Where Seen: Movie Screening
Production Company: Warner Bros.
Distributed By: Warner Bros.
Director(s): David Dobkin
Writer(s): Nick Schenk (screenplay & story), Bill Dubuque (screenplay), David Dobkin (story)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr. (Hank Palmer), Robert Duvall (Joseph Palmer), Vera Farmiga (Samantha Powell), Billy Bob Thornton (Dwight Dickham), Vincent D’Onofrio (Glen Palmer), Jeremy Strong (Dale Palmer), Dax Shepard (C.P. Lennedy), Ken Howard (Judge Warren), Emma Tremblay (Lauren Palmer)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Judge is one of those movies that I knew I had to see the moment I learned who was in it. I have been a big fan of Robert Downey, Jr’s for years and I was excited to see him in something that would stretch his acting chops a bit. His performance in The Judge is nothing short of stellar and I loved his interactions with Robert Duvall who plays his father. The story focuses on Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) who returns home after many years away to attend his mother’s funeral. There is some bad blood between Hank and his father (Robert Duvall) and the tension between the two is palpable. Your heart aches as these two appear together as you can see that under all the anger an ill words that there is a lot of hurt and pain. Before Hank can leave town his father, a respected judge, is accused of murder and he feels like he has to stay in order to defend him.
The Judge is a slow moving, character driven film and if you are looking for bells and whistles you will want to check out the action movie in the theatre next door. This is a movie that finds its strength in quiet moments and dialogue scenes as all the characters try to find their way back to each other. The Judge is a serious film but there are also moments of laughter and scenes that will make your heart ache at the touching moment that is happening on screen. I do think that Vincent D’Onofrio and Jeremy Strong were under-utilized as Hank’s brothers Glen and Dale and wish that they had more time with RDJ and Duvall.
Billy Bob Thornton does an excellent job as the prosecutor and really enjoyed all the courtroom scenes in this film. I also loved the moments that Thornton and RDJ shared on screen as they both tried to fight the best case they could. The Judge was a powerful film and its one that I hope will earn some of its cast members an award nomination or two. Its a movie that just sucks you in and makes you a part of the small Indiana town where its set. You feel like you are a part of the Palmer family and you are sitting right there in the courtroom hoping that RDJ can work his magic as he tries the hardest case of his life.
All the characters in The Judge go through tremendous growth throughout the course of the movie and who they are at the start is not who they are at the end. The Judge is a movie that will touch your heart stings and one that I am glad that I saw. Its filled with so many nuances and a great soundtrack and one that I don’t think you will regret seeing.
My recommendation: Worth seeing in the theatre but will also be a great DVD rental.