Friday, October 10, 2014
I always try to know as little as possible about a film before I see it. So often times, movies aren't quite what I expected going in. For 'The Judge' I was expecting a legal thriller and/or courtroom drama, along the lines of all those great John Grisham novels turned films with all their generic law jargon titles like 'The Client', 'The Firm', and 'The Chamber'. 'The Judge', however, isn't a thriller at all, and it's only partially a courtroom drama, but mostly it's a family drama. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But at the start, it's a very cliche family drama, of a son (Robert Downey Jr.) who leaves his small town family behind to become a big time defense attorney in the big city, having no scruples, tons of money, a beautiful home and an unhappy trophy wife. But now he needs to return home, after being away many years, for his mom's funeral, and re-encounter his estranged dad played by Robert Duvall. In the first half hour I was braced to be disappointed, but it's a long film at 2.5 hours, and it does get better as it goes along. And the performances, as I would have expected, are terrific. It's no John Grisham thriller, and it's no 'My Cousin Vinnie'. But it's really a pretty good family drama with some decent courtroom drama thrown in.
Grade: B+ (and maybe it should be an A-)
Who is this movie for? Anyone looking for a quality family drama with quality performances by quality actors. It's not awards worthy, but it's good.