Because of the 3 amazing actors, I had high expectations for this movie. And my expectations were not only met, they were exceeded.
Robert Downey Jr. has made one heck of an impression as of late. With movies like Ironman, Sherlock Holmes and The Soloist. I honestly didn't know who RDJ was until U.S. Marshals. But after that he kind of fell off the grid and didn't do anything majorly ground-breaking until Charlie Bartlett and then Ironman. I have, since, seen a lot of his older work, and in my opinion, this has to be his best performance.
RDJ plays the son of an Indiana judge (Robert Duvall).
Duvall is "The Judge". A tough hardened enforcer of the law who doesn't take it easy on anyone who has the unfortunate luck to appear in his courtroom. The Judge is accused of murdering a guy he put away for murder 20 years before. Being the son of The Judge, RDJ of course feels compelled to represent his estranged father to keep him from being guilty of Murder in the first.
Unfortunately, The Judge is as bull-headed outside the courtroom as he is tough inside, and is not going to bend the law to get away with something he may or may not have done, hell bent on being true and honest.
Billy Bob Thornton plays the prosecuting attorney who volunteered for the duty of presenting state evidence and try to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that The Judge killed this guy in cold blood, in a pseudo-vendetta against RDJ.
During the movie, you begin to realize that RDJ and [The Judge](movie:739892) are two sides of the same coin. I definitely recommend this movie to anyone who is looking for a performance that will bring tears to your eyes. For the more emotional, (like myself), kleenex is a necessity. I fully expect this to get awards when award season comes around again.