The Judge is a movie I have been waiting to see for a while. It follows Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.), a big time lawyer in Chicago who reunites with his estranged family after his mother dies. As his visit to his hometown comes to a close he finds himself staying a little longer than expected when his father, Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall), is suspected of murder. While Hank is a lawyer, his father is the presiding judge in Carlinville. Hank ends up taking his father on as his client and, as the movie goes on, skeletons and past experiences come out of the closet that will determine whether Hank can reconcile and come closer to his family. Supporting Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall are Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Billy Bob Thornton. Sitting in the director’s chair is David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, The Change-Up).
Down with Downey
I really liked Robert Downey Jr.’s performance in this movie. I already love seeing him on screen as Iron Man, but getting to see him outside of that role is still a pleasure. His acting is strong and he works hard to immerse himself in whatever role he is given. This made his character believable and interesting to watch. Robert Duvall also provides a strong performance as Joseph Palmer. The father/son dynamic portrayed through the lawyer and judge adds flavor to the story. It’s definitely this caliber of acting that helps drive the plot in this movie and makes it enjoyable and intriguing for it’s audience.
Despite such high caliber acting talent in this movie the story is what makes the movie fall somewhat short. The plot is average at most and sometimes becomes so convoluted that it can confuse the audience. The way the story is written feels stagnant. It’s a shame to say that because Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall’s acting is a delight. Had the story been written better they would have a more immersive experience. It’s due to this that I say the movie is enjoyable, but could have been even better had the plot been written more cleanly.
The Judge Verdict
Overall, The Judge was a decent movie to watch despite the shortcomings the story had. I hope to see more acting outside of Marvel from Robert Downey Jr. and I still hope that he’ll be with Marvel for a while. It’s his acting that helped carry a good part of the movie when the story was stilted and because of that it’s worth watching. Go see The Judge and see what verdict you’ll give it once it’s over.