The Judge  (2014)    73/100

Rating :   73/100                                                                     141 Min        15

Acting giants Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr. play an estranged father and son, the former a highly respected judge in their fictional home town of Carlinville, Indiana, and the latter a defence attorney living in the Windy City, Chicago, and about to go through divorce procedures with his wife, something he’d prefer not to admit to when he returns home for his mother’s funeral. Filial responsibilities are about to be severely put to the test when Duvall is accused of a hit and run murder, but he’d rather someone local defend him than his own son, and to make matters worse he claims he has no recollection of events and therefore no idea if he is actually guilty or not. A long and quite involving legal case pans out and the narrative intertwines it with the main characters’ own relationship, past and present – both leads are great, although Downey’s particular acting style can muffle some of the dialogue at times, and the film is as convincing at exploring a real and difficult father/son relationship as it is at giving us a suspenseful courtroom drama. With support from Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, Leighton Meester and Vera Farmiga – who interestingly makes another choice comment about playing with herself (she did the same in ‘Up in the Air’ 09) – is this her stealthy trademark, much like eating onscreen is Brad Pitt’s? I think we ought to really see it next time if it is ….

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