“The law is the only thing capable of making people equal.”
– Dwight Dickham
SYNOPSIS: Big city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his father, the town’s judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family. – via IMDB
So when The Judge came, I saw a lot of reviews calling it bland and boring, so I didn’t rush out to see it, though I was quite interested in seeing it from the off. I am glad that I finally did check it out, at the behest of my neighbour and my mother. I thoroughly enjoyed this. It didn’t feel very long and it was engrossing. Typically, Robert Downey Jr played a cocky, smart-mouthed, sharp and overly-sarcastic lawyer, but the role worked for him. I was interested in seeing Duvall in here, seeing as whenever I think of him I think of his consigliere role of Tom Hagen in The Godfather, and this is a total change. Duvall is still a great watch, and I loved the way he and RDJ worked off of one another. The relationship between father and son was so strained, and the numerous glimpses you got as a viewer to see how totally different Judge Palmer is from the image you are given by Hank was so rewarding. The arguments between the two were sometimes extremely painful. The supporting cast was really good, and I thought that Jeremy Strong delivered a heartfelt performance as the slower Dale, Vince D’Onofrio was a great Glen, obviously I am a fan of Vera Farmiga and she again worked wonders here. Billy Bob Thornton was relatively underused, but he rocked his suits and gave off the air of a man out for blood. Everyone pulled their weight and it was nice to see. Granted, many may feel that they have seen this before and complain about the length, but I think that the drama was handled very well, and I lost time watching this seeing as it was so engrossing. Not only that, the execution was so well done that it doesn’t matter if the father/son bitter pool has been overplayed, and we all know that the family must heal and all that. It is a nice thing to watch and experience with them, plus there are quite a few laughs laced throughout it, and the sad moments sprinkled between, too. I was not a big fan of how the big argument in court plays out because, well… courtooms aren’t treated like that, and questioning/cross-examination doesn’t play out like that and I know that. However, to add the drama and hit you in the feels they went with it, so it is just something to get over. But even after all is said and done, The Judge is a generic movie, but good. It breaks no boundaries, takes no bold leaps, and gives us nothing we haven’t seen before, and while the performances are strong, each and every one of these actors has given us better. Director David Dobkin really played it very safe with this.