Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

Film Review: The Judge

Posted on October 27, 2014 in Arts & Culture, Movie Reviews
By USM Free Press

Krysteana Scribner | The Free Press

By Sergey Miller

There are many movies that center on courtroom action and the execution of law in the form of drama. There are also movies that focus on family relationships and the complexities of human relationships which are sometimes ignored.

The Judge, directed by David Dobkin, is a movie which blends these two ingredients into a near perfect mixture. This film balances the perfect combination of good acting and plot rhythm, allowing for the sentimental messages to shine so clearly throughout the film. The Judge concerns an older magistrate played by Robert Duvall named Joseph Palmer. A murder charge has been raised against him for the vehicular killing of a man he once sentenced to prison. The building up of the entire film is concentrated to this court case that puts Joseph Palmer on trial.

Robert Downey Jr. plays his son, Hank Palmer, who is a young lawyer going through a divorce because of his over dedication to his work. With the passing of Joseph Palmer’s wife, Hank comes home to honor his mother’s memory. Hank has very little patience for his father or the small town from which he is grew up. Hank wants very much to forget that he is a product of a town which he feels is below the grandeur and intelligence of the modern world. Hank comes home to his two brothers and the man who is referred to as ‘the judge’ (his father).

As the movie continues the son feels inspired to face many of the challenges of his previous romantic relationships, childhood memories and relationship with his father. Hank becomes co-counsel for his father.

The acting is superb, and the electricity between Duvall and Downey Jr. shows that both actors are at the peak of their careers. There are no guns going off, flashy special effects, or superhero abilities that are endowed to the characters. Many of the characters in the film seem to suggest that even the best of us are all too human.

All should see this film in order to appreciate Downey Jr.’s ability to show complex character traits and Duvall’s mastery over his craft. It is well worth the money spent and the movie allows for much discussion at the end. One flaw of the film is that it can be a little too predictable at times, but the plot is perhaps not the thing that should get the most attention. This movie is about characters, setting and human relationships, which becomes relatable to the viewer and makes the movie experience one that won’t soon be forgotten.

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