My Ratings: 3.3/5
The genre loosely termed as Family Drama has always patronized this particular theme where the prodigal son, the black sheep of the family returns to his hometown after ages to attend a funeral or wedding and somehow gets entangled to his roots.
The Judge is the latest addition to this theme but may be not the best one.
I guess the trailer pretty much gives you the story line.
Hank Palmer, the hotshot city lawyer comes back to his hometown to attend his mother’s funeral but has to extend his stay when he learns that his father, Joseph Palmer, the Judge of the town is suspected of homicide!
Did The Judge really kill somebody? Will his son be able to defend him?
Yes, the film eventually answers these questions but not before Hank Palmer resolves all his past issues – his messy relationships with his father, his two brothers, his girlfriend and so on.
And believe me Hank takes his time – the film is 2hrs 22mins and could have been a much better experience if it was at least 15 to 20 mins shorter.
Most of the times actors feel lucky to have been casted in a particular film that eventually make their career but in films like The Judge, the film itself should feel lucky that actors like Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall are part of it.
Robert Duvall perfectly fits the aged, stubborn and respected Judge who hates to love his middle son Robert Downey Jr, still blames him for his accidental childhood mistakes and more importantly for leaving him and his hometown.
On the other hand Robert Downey Jr flawlessly plays the confident, arrogant city lawyer who wants to help his family especially his father as much as he wants to go back to his city life and forget his past.
The tussle, the conflict, the brilliant father-son chemistry between two such distinguished actors is the only reason to watch The Judge.
Vera Farmiga and Billy Bob Thornton also made their presence felt in the film.
The dialogues in the film are often a bit too loud and straight forward, i felt a few more subtle emotional sequences could have challenged the actors in a better way.
Especially the court room scenes – too dramatic almost in the verge of losing reality.
But despite of not having a perfect script or exquisite camera angles or crisp editing, the director David Dobkin still goes lucky with his casting.
The Judge is a slow emotional film; before you buy the tickets do make sure you have the time and the mood for it.