In what is essentially a classic father-son tale played out in a courtroom, The Judge could easily fall into clichéd coasting. And yet what a surprise this was.
Robert Downey Jr. is perfectly cast as the suave, egotistical lawyer famed for successfully defending the indefensible, who goes on a reluctant journey to reconnect with his family and his past. Deftly moving between tension, comedy and instances of profound poignancy, The Judge also offers Robert Duvall a chance to remind us of his captivating screen quality, for which he must surely be recognised come award season.
A surprisingly moving and compelling drama which, despite a lengthy running time, does not outstay its welcome and gives Downey Jr. scope to exhibit his considerable talents.
CAST: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga
DIRECTOR: David Dobkin
WRITER: Nick Schenk and Bill Dubuque
SYNOPSIS: Hotshot lawyer Hank Palmer returns home following the death of his mother. Before leaving, his father, the town’s judge, is arrested for murder, whereupon Hank decides to stay to take up the case.