Written and directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers and The Change Up) “The Judge” stars Robert Downey Jr. as Hank Palmer, a hotshot Chicago Lawyer who, on the surface is living the dream with a Ferrari in the driveway and a young attractive wife in the bedroom.
Hank’s life turns on a dime when he’s called back to his rural hometown after receiving news of the death of his mother. Leaving his daughter behind for what he assumes to be a quick trip, he quickly realizes that there’s more than one loose end to tie up.
Hank’s brother’s Glen Palmer (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Dale Palmer (Jeremy Strong) play mediators, though each have their own struggles. After tragedy strikes the night of the funeral, with the elderly Judge Palmer the center of the conflict, Hank and his father must work together, all the while repairing their relationship, in the most important trial of their lives.
The film is a heavy drama that is honest and true to real emotional family conflict. Though the film focuses on a strained father and son relationship, there are stories of old high school flames, disabled siblings, severe illness and broken marriages. The drama is quite apparent in the film but there are happier moments carefully strung throughout the film, which do not remove the gravitas of the film’s importance.
“The Judge” will have you leaving the theater enlightened and moved. It would be a crime if Downey and Duvall do not receive an award for their performances.
If you’re one for seeing Oscar winning films before they’re nominated, this is the film to see. “The Judge” in theaters October 10.