Movie Review: ‘The Judge’ [Video]
He’s a shyster who only represents guilty clients because, as he says in the movie: “those are the only ones who can afford to pay.”
He seems to be a man without any moral compass or conscience. However, we see a different side of Hank Palmer (Downey) when he receives the news about his mother’s passing.
Forced to go home to a small town in Indiana for the funeral, where his father is the local judge, the plot unfolds of the family dynamics that created the cold and aloof character that’s fled to the big city to hide his small town roots.
His father was a taskmaster who was seemingly cold and unloving to Downey’s character but during the course of the long movie (2 hours and 35 minutes) the method to the madness in “The Judge” is revealed.
It all happens in a John Grisham-style court case, where the son has to defend the judge from charges of killing a paroled convict on a dark rainy night while behind the wheel of his Cadillac.
This is a “star vehicle,” and, in my opinion, a try for an Oscar nomination for Downey. (He’s also an executive producer of the film.)
Downey is the star of the movie, but Robert Duvall is a very formidable adversary to Downey in the movie. Duvall is definitely the “icing on the cake.”
The movie also has a strong supporting cast, including Billy Bob Thornton as a special state prosecutor who’s brought in to prosecute the judge. Vincent D’Onofrio (TV’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”) is Hank’s big brother, a promising young baseball star who’s ends up stuck in the small town when he injures his hand in a car wreck (Hank was the driver of the car).
Vera Farmiga (Oscar nominated for “Up in the Air”) plays Downey’s high school sweetheart, who now owns the small town diner, and Dax Shepard plays the full-time antique salesman/part-time attorney who the judge initially hires to defend him.
The movie sprawls out in several different directions but all roads lead back to the family and the various dynamics between the father and the sons. It all ends up in a very tidy package that is very satisfying.
I really liked the movie and you can count me as one who will cast my vote for a best actor Oscar nomination for Downey come Academy Award season.
The movie is rated “R” for language and sexual references. On my Hollywood Popcorn Scale, I give “The Judge” a JUMBO!
Source: The Touch Radio