The Judge (Film Review)

Oct 18, 2014
'The Judge' at its heart revolves around a son fighting for his estranged father he had hatred for in years. It could make a big courthouse, family drama that has the potential in the awards season as marketed in the previews. It already has everything it needed for the great drama recipe, but however it just doesn't want to be. As the clock continues ticking in this 2 hours and 20 minutes running time, this supposedly knock-out of a film ended up punching itself even more.

Robert Downey, Jr. plays Hank Palmer, a sleazy, hot-shot lawyer that returns to his childhood hometown to visit his deceased mother. His father, Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall), is a Judge in this neighborhood, only to be suspected of murder by the court. Now, it is up to Hank to defend him, reconnect with him that he already forgotten.
While the premise of this movie is intriguing as it is, it decided to cram in unnecessary plot points, scenes, characters, and you got the formula for a long, dragging movie. There will be instances where it tried to be funny, where it isn't needed at all. One scene where Robert Downey Jr.'s character and Vera Farmiga tried to break-in on a restaurant only to find out it is owned by Farmiga, and the scene became a big f**king joke. "Why would a lawyer, who practiced an studied the fundamentals of law, attempt to break-in a restaurant in the first place??" 

The trial sequences were done with so much care. Billy Bob Thorton plays the defendant of the crime victim, and I must say he was more impressive than I thought he would. If only the movie would include more courtroom scenes.

It could have been 30 minutes shorter than it is. And the movie is at it's most intense when things started heating up between the two leads. The best bit of the film occur during a tornado attack, where Downey and Duvall argue about their past, digging old wounds. Robert Duvall is phenomenal as ever, and Robert Downey, Jr. on his best performance in years.
It is the script that went wrong, and this thing has a good shot for the Best Picture race, but it bloated down the airways and wasted all over. 'The Judge' has it's moments here and there, but it cram itself as it can. For sure, audiences will adore this, but don't expect too much. See it for Robert Duvall and Robert Downey, Jr. at least.

The geek rates it 6/10.

'The Judge' opens this Wednesday, October 22 distributed by Warner Bros. Philippines!

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