When his mother dies, he’s forced to go back home to visit his estranged family including his father who is never got along, played by Robert Duvall, who is a very successful judge. And when Duvall was accused of a possible murder, Downey then is forced to represent his father which creates a bit of problem because they hate each other.
I was really looking forward to this movie because I’m a big fan of Robert Downey Jr. not just because he’s Iron Man and he’s great as Iron Man. Some of you kids out there need to check out some of his movie from the 90’s and early 2000’s. The guy is an excellent actor and for that reason I was really excited to see him go to an adult film, it’s rated R, it’s cool to see him in a role that‘s not “Hey, I’m Iron Man!”
And of course there is Robert Duvall, I mean he was in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), the guy has been around forever, he’s a fantastic actor.
For those reasons, I was excited to see this movie. And yet I was feeling uncertain about it, that it’s a little melodramatic, it’s a little bit cheesy, it’s a little too over the top. I got to say, walking out of The Judge I was impressed by this movie, not just because it’s fun and interesting movie but it is a 2 hour and 21 minute movie and I was never bored and it didn’t dragged from me. And that was the best part about this movie, that I was actually interested in the story, and that is one of the most important part of a movie. How is the story? Are you into it? Is it cool? Is it different? Is it something new? Is it something original?
There’s nothing terribly original about The Judge, but what I like about it that it’s really does focus a lot on its characters, attempts to flesh them out quite often, and it has a good focus on its story. That is one of the best part of The Judge.
And Downey Jr. is excellent in this movie. It’s really cool to see him in a role as I said, where he just plays an adult man who’s the character is not Iron Man. He’s great as Iron Man, but it’s so cool whenever I get to see him in an actual movie, movie like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) or Zodiac (2007). This guy is an excellent actor. He’s fantastic in the film, it’s one of his better performances I think. And Duvall is also really good. I mean this is one of his better performances I haven't seen in years cause lately he’s been playing like supporting roles where he’s kind of shows up as a cool guy for a few scenes. But in this movie, there are couple of scenes in this movie in particular that are very-very intense.
Also Vincent D'Onofrio is terrific in this movie as well. I always remember him as Edward “Sugar Water” from Men in Black (1997).
That being said, I think there are some merits to the claim about the movie being too cheesy, a little too savvy, and a little too hard stringy, if you know what I mean. There are a few moments in this movie that are took me out of it. For one, before the big case, the night before the big case. Downey Jr. helps Vera Farmiga’s character break into a restaurant so they can eat in there by themselves. I mean that’s breaking and entering. Are you gonna do that? Right before you’re about to defend your father on a life and death murder case? I mean that just seems kind of crazy to me. I mean like a minute later you find that Vera Farmiga owns the place, and so it’s okay that he broke in but that make it even worst because she let him break in and he didn’t know that, and he broke in. It took me out of the movie, I was like you’re a lawyer dude, why are you committing a crime right before your big case? It’s odd, it took me out of the movie.
There are also a lot of really convenient tight wrap moments that are like, “okay, this is a little over the top”.
But I think my main issue with the movie that I was so interested in are the court room scenes, and Downey Jr. and Duvall were so good in those scenes. There wasn’t enough of the court room scenes. It kept retracting to the this really long family conversations and arguments that I was little interested in. And I wanted to see more court room scenes, and I wish that more of the movie actually took place around the case, which I was really invested in.
But the performances in this movie are all very good. It’s a well directed movie, I was interested in the story, and so for that reason I do recommend you to check out The Judge sometime. You might not have to rush out and see it but I do think it’s a totally watchable movie with some really fantastic performances.
Director: David Dobkin
Writers: Nick Schenk (screenplay), Bill Dubuque (screenplay)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton
Duration: 141 min