NOT A BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE BY DOWNEY BUT HE’S CERTAINLY THE MOST ENTERTAINING PART OF THE MOVIE!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B- (3 stars)
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
From directors James F. Truesdale (We Were Soldiers, Mr. Woodcock) and David Swayze and starring the always-talented Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, The Avengers, Tropic Thunder) and Robert Duvall (Rambling Rose, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now) comes The Judge, a well-acted and beautifully filmed Dramedy about a lawyer and his judge father.
Don’t expect it to be a powerhouse performance for Robert Downey Jr. like his roles in Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, Iron Man, or Tropic Thunder, but his performance in the film is funny, over the top, and entertaining all at the same time.
Robert stars as District attorney, Henry “Hank” Palmer, a successful Chicago lawyer who returns to his old hometown, Carlinville, Indiana for his mother’s funeral. When he arrives he soon finds out that is father, Judge Joseph Palmer is suspected for murder.
So Hank needs to defend his father in court against prosecutor, Dwight Dickham (Billy Bob Thornton-Sling Blade, A Simple Plan, Eagle Eye) who is determined to put Joseph away.
The film also stars Vera Farmiga (Up In The Air, The Departed, The Conjuring), Vincent D’Onofrio (JFK, Ed Wood, Men in Black), Jeremy Strong (Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty), Sarah Lancaster (Catch Me If You Can), David Krumholtz (Harold & Kumar trilogy, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, Superbad), and Ken Howard (Clear and Present Danger, The Net, J. Edgar).
Overall, The Judge is a decent movie, it’s sure to please fans of Robert Downey Jr. (me included). I don’t think every Robert Downey Jr. movie is a masterpiece but even when he’s in a mediocre or bad movie like The Shaggy Dog or Due Date, there’s just something so likeable about him that seems to make the film worth watching.
Of course, Robert Duvall’s performance is pretty solid as the father, but come on Downey steals the show, I don’t recall a movie he starred in that he didn’t steal the show in. He’s able to be both funny, dramatic, and over the top all at the same time and he’s developed pretty well as a character.
It’s not on the Iron Man or Kirk Lazarus level but Robert’s trying out different and new roles and that’s always welcoming from a great actor.
My main problem with the movie is that it’s too cliché and predictable at times, I won’t give anything away but trust me, if you’ve seen a lot movies similar to this one you may be able to figure it all out on your own, but that’s just a slight issue.
So if you’re a fan of Robert Downey Jr. (like me) there’s a strong chance you’ll enjoy his performance in The Judge, even if you don’t like the movie as a whole. It’s no Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, Iron Man, Tropic Thunder, or even Sherlock Holmes, but it doesn’t have to be, like I said even in his worst or mediocre films Downey manages to make the movie worth checking out and this is no exception.