A hotshot lawyer returns to his hometown when
his father, the town judge, is accused of murder.
The Judge (2014)
Directed by David Dobkin
Written by Nick Schenk and Bill Dubuque
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga,
Vincent D'Onofrio, Billy Bob Thornton, Jeremy Strong,
Dax Shepard, Leighton Meester
Oscar Nominations - Best Supporting Actor (Robert Duvall)
The Judge is one of the rare instances where the critics were both right and wrong about their gripes with the film. On one hand, it was overly cliched and predictable. On the other, it is a fantastically acted courtroom drama with a meaningful message about family and legacy. With these in the win column, I think it's wrong to call this a bad movie.
Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall are in top form, playing off each other fabulously and making the audience believe that they are really father and son. Duvall especially conveyed a sense of prideful fear, which definitely resonated with me. I would say it was one of his best performances in years. I could have used less of the subplot regarding Downey Jr.'s possible daughter. It distracted from the main story and was considerably less gripping than the murder trial.
For a director primarily known for subpar comedies, David Dobkin has definitely scored a hit with The Judge. It may not bring anything new to the table, but it remains a solid win for everyone involved and will no doubt earn the praise it deserves.