Film review: The Judge (4 out of 5)

I enjoy a good court room drama and The Judge is certainly one of those.

Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall in The Judge.
Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall in The Judge.

However, the banter and twists and turns between legal eagles is only a part of this very good film.

It’s a family drama and a father and son love story.

There has been quite a bit of criticism of the movie but I have to say I found it an enjoyable and complete film that ties up all the loose ends.

Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall in The Judge.

It may be long, two hours and 20 minutes, but the director keeps the pace going and the actors have been well chosen.

Robert Downey Jnr is Hank Palmer, a high powered lawyer in Chicago, keeping the rich and influential out of prison whether they are guilty or not.

However, when his mother dies he returns to his home town where his father is the local judge.

It’s not a trip Hank is looking forward to as he and his father barely speak anymore following a childhood argument.

The family get-together does little to heal the wounds but Hank has to stick around when his father is accused of murder.

Robert Duvall plays the title role and he and Downey Jnr provide plenty of spark as their characters gradually battle through the decades of anger and ill feeling.

The two main stars are the glue that holds the film together but there is great support from the likes of Vera Farmiga as Hank’s former girlfriend and Vincent D’Onofrio as Hank’s older brother Glen.

Billy Bob Thornton tends to steal the show, though, as a prosecuting lawyer, revealing a taste of his impressive acting skills.

Some of the roles lose a little impetus as the movie rolls on and the Downey Jnr humour is becoming a little too trademark in his recent films.

But this is well worth watching and immersing in to a tale of conflicted emotions.

Film details: The Judge (15) 141mins

Director: David Dobkin

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol