The Judge

Jays Rating:
Actors: /

If you enjoy emotional family dramas and gripping courtroom scenes, then you’ll definitely want to see the mystery drama, The Judge. Hank Palmer (Robert Downey, Jr) is a Chicago defense attorney who goes home to his small Indiana town for the funeral of his mother. Because of Hank’s estranged relationship with his father Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall) who is the town judge, he plans to attend the funeral and leave the next day. While he’s planning to head to the airport, the police call and tell him Judge Palmer has been arrested for murder and even though he and his father don’t get along he reluctantly stays to defend him. (Personally, I don’t think he deserves an award for helping his dad.) Since he has to stay, he rekindles a relationship with his high school sweetheart Samantha (Vera Farmiga) and also spends some quality time with his brothers. As the trial heats up prosecuting attorney Dwight Dickham (Billy Bob Thornton) brings to light the mental instability of the Judge and his relationship with the victim. This may appear to be a typical courtroom drama, but it’s so much more. It has emotional scenes and even a little humor, but it’s all about the acting. The verbal sparring not only takes place in the courtroom between Downey and Thornton, but also at home between Downey and Duvall. The three Hollywood heavyweights are just fantastic and the highlight of the film. Good or bad, I have to point out that this movie has several cliché scenes: an old girlfriend back in a small town, a son who moves away to a big town who is estranged from his family and a cute girl who steals a crusty old man’s heart. I guess the only thing I can really find wrong is the bloated 141 minutes. (Okay, I was a little bloated myself after eating that large bag of popcorn full of salt.) This is an engaging film and I’m giving it a B+ rating.

This movie has been given an R rating by the MPAA

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