Movie Review: The Judge

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After the sudden death of his mother, small town boy turned big city criminal lawyer Hank Palmer (Downey Jr) returns to his hometown. This is not a happy homecoming for Hank as he now has to confront his demons, most obviously his cold and emotionally distant father, local court Judge Joseph (Duvall). Also waiting back home is his older brother Glen (D’Onofrio), a man haunted by demons of his own and who is concerned about the welfare of their younger disabled brother Dale (Strong) now their mother has died.

But it’s not all bad. He runs into his high school sweetheart Sam (Farmiga) and you got it, the sparks are still flying.

A few days into his stay, Judge is charged with the murder of a man he sentenced to prison many years ago. His car has impacted somebody or something, there is a dead body and even though he cannot recall the event, he seems content to have local yet completely out of his depth lawyer Kennedy (Shepard) defend him. For all their differences, Hank drily notes that ‘the Judge is many things but a murderer is not one of them’ and stays on to assist with his father’s defence.

It becomes clear that the Judge is lying, hiding something. This is troubling for Hank as his son and his lawyer. Once the trial gets underway, Hank is once again in his element and in full control. This contrasts with the disaster that is her personal life here and back home with his family.

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Ostensibly about a murder trial, this is the story of a broken family. There are deep wounds that have never healed, old resentments that have never been forgiven and now that mum is no longer there to smooth things over, the family must finally confront all its secrets and lies.

Here is a solid cast and a great script. The story does get a little too family drama-ish at points but this didn’t diminish my overall enjoyment. Duvall and Downey Jr share some fantastic scenes and one in particular, when Hank helps his father during the night, was magnificent. Father and son experienced the full gamut of emotions all within this 5 or so minute scene and it brought a tear to my eye. We should also see Duvall nominated for an Oscar and rightfully so

Just two things ….Downey’s hair colourist should be fired immediately and his creepy scene with Meester should be cut, cut, cut.

This movie should be on your I really should try to see it list. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars

Love Flick xx

 

 

Director :  David Dobkin

Starring :  Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, Leighton Meester, Ken Howard, Emma Tremblay, Balthazar Getty

Running Time :  141 minutes

Release Date :  9 October 2014

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