After having it on my ‘to watch’ list for practically ages i have finally watched the 2014 film ‘The Judge’, staring the one and only Tony Stark..oh i mean Robert Downey Jnr. So ignoring that over used joke, i had seen the trailer on television recently, and to be honest i had not heard much about the movie. I do not watch much television, most of the shows i watch are online, so i do not see many trailers or ads for movies or shows or things.
Moving on to my thoughts on the movie, i really enjoyed it. It was a different type of movie to what i normally watch. My usual movie genre is action or superhero or sci-fi, and this movie was more drama and real world based.
The basic plot of the movie follows Hank Palmer (played by RDJ), a successful defence attorney who movie away from his family and his small home town, and sort of pushed them out of his life. During a trial, he is called by his brother Glen (Vincent D’Onofrio, pretty sure he is one of the main guys in Law And Order) that his mother has died, and he immediately flies home, after also revealing that he is going through a divorce and ensuing custody battle for his daughter. He reunites with his family, his brothers Glen and Dale (Jeremy Strong) who is mentally handicapped, as well as his father Judge Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall), who is heartbroken with the death of his wife, and was previously an alcoholic. They do various things in the night, and Judge Palmer leaves to go to the store to get some groceries, and the next morning Hank discovers damage on the car. Then it comes to light that there was an accident, and an man who the Judge sentenced to jail was killed, presumably by being hit by the car. The film is based around the trail, the defence of the Judge by his son, and their relationship. The storyline was good in my opinion, there were some twists and big events that made it interesting for the whole 2 hours, and not a bore to sit and watch, but at some points i would have liked a little more explanation about certain things.
Firstly ill touch on the acting, which was pretty damn good in this film. I do have a soft spot for RDJ, and i think he was great in this movie. I have seen pretty limited RDJ movies, but on the back of this film he did a great job in conveying the character Hank Palmer, as well as the relationships he has with each of the ‘minor characters.’ I also must give credit to Robert Duvall, who also does on outstanding job as Judge Palmer, who due to circumstances that arise in the film, is a complex character and in my opinion (mind you this is coming from a non actor) would be difficult to portray well. The supporting cast also did a fine job, though it is pretty hard to comment, for reasons i will discuss in my next point.
The main characters of this film is evidently Hank and Judge Palmer. And in this film more so then others, we are limited in how much we learn about the secondary characters. Many receive little backstory, or scenes, or a chance to show their character and develop on screen. I though the whole love interest with his old girl friend Sam (Vera Farmiga) was pointless, and added in simply to be there, to have a love interest. Sam was given pretty much no development, all her scenes were based around Hank and their relationship, and was the ‘token ex-girlfriend who tries to rekindle their relationship.’ The main problem i have with the movie is its lack of focus on minor characters, or how they involve the minor characters into the story. Sam as i previously said, was there just because. Glen and Dale were around, but their opinions or relationship with the Judge and Hank were not explored, and his Daughter was around occasionally. The other minor characters were non factors for me. Though, this lack of minor character involvement ensured that all the focus was on Hank and the Judge, and their relationship and personalities. Their decisions and how it shaped who they are today. And that seemed to be the major part of the film.
The music score fit the movie, and the cinematography as was you would expect for a modern film. There were some fantastic shots of the country side, and of various scenes. overall, this movie was pretty to watch.
So to wrap this all up. If you are looking for a slightly more serious movie, a drama, set in the real world with real world situations (as opposed to a super solider fighting his best friend who is now a super soldier with a metal arm in a world where superheroes exist) i would suggest this film. It is easy watching, has a plot that keeps you interested most of the time, and is just a generally good quality movie.
Though i must admit for a lot of the film i was wondering whether RDJ was wearing his platform shoes to make him look taller (as we seen in the avengers to make Tony Stark not look dwarfed by the other guys), or was his height fine. This is how my mind works, don’t question it.
7/10, watch it if you are looking for something to watch for a night.