Judge--directed by David Dobkin/starring Robert Downey, Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, with Billy Bob Thornton, Ken Howard, and Dax Shepard/screenplay by Nick Schenk and Bill Dubuque from a story by David Dobkin and Nick Schenk/rated R/running time:2hr21min
Bifocal Reviews Written By “Ageless1der” Barbara Rich and The Other Guy
(BR): This courtroom drama opens with the death of Hank Palmer’s mother. Hank is a Chicago attorney who does not get on well with his cantankerous father, a judge in a small town, played by Robert Duvall. Hank Palmer, played by Robert Downey Jr., must return to Indiana for his mother’s funeral. The father-son relationship that is revealed during the course of this movie, is the real fuel that drives this intriguing tale. Duvall and Downey are so compelling on screen. There is a veritable fountain of emotions that spill between the two. The co-stars that support this drama are all very well cast and add just the right amount of icing on this tasty piece of film work. There was too much unnecessary family background, which inflated the length of this movie. I think 20 minutes could have been cut. That is my only minus in critique. I loved the film and it easily deserves four and a half binoculars.
(OG): I have been a fan of Robert Duvall’s since he first peeked our from behind the porch door as Boo Radley in the classic film-based-on-my-favorite novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Then, think about the plethora of roles that are forever better because he was the actor who played the part. I’m talking about everything from True Grit, Bullit, Mash and The Godfather trilogy all the way to Apocalypse Now, The Great Santini, The Natural, Phenomenon and Jack Reacher. For every film I named there are at least 10 more that we all love and we think of as a classic Duvall role. Now, put into the mix Robert Downey Jr. (who I think is the absolute epitome of the perfect character actor), mix it up with Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton and the rest of the cast and you can see why this was a very enjoyable 2 hours and 21 minutes for me. I cannot help but think, however that Downey Jr. and Duvall’s skills helped raise the game for everyone else who were a part of this one. I think I would have liked it even if the story was not interesting and compelling. I will be surprised if there are not several awards contenders in this stable of consummate actors. To quote Barbara Rich…Kudos, and as close to five binoculars as possible—still leaving me some wiggle room for a few more films I intend to see this season. Finally, I have to say something about the title. Everyone I talk to, and many critics keeps calling this film The Judge, but from what I can see and what I read on the screen when I saw this film...there is NO "The."