THE JUDGE | MOVIE REVIEW

O M G – it is Robert Downey Jnr in something that does not involve an iron suit. This is fantastic news. Something a little more serious, but still with his personality all over it and what a cast! I am looking forward to this one. Kernel Alistair Shields headed along to represent Salty Popcorn for this. To me this looks like one to take the parents and/ or grandparents to. THE JUDGE is releasing this Thursday 9th October in Australia from Roadshow Films, it runs for 141 minutes and is rated M. Enjoy Alistair’s review below…………..all the best…………….JK.

 

THE JUDGE MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
THE JUDGE | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY ALISTAIR SHIELDS

Every now and again an event will happen to you that will take the wind out of you. It will leave you just numb with absolute disbelief that such a thing could ever happen to you. This may be anything from your pet goldfish dying to the passing of one of your parents.

THE JUDGE is a film on the latter. Featuring heavy-hitters like Robert Duvall (The Godfather) and Robert Downey Jnr. (Iron Man) the film is an exploration of a family, and one man, as they come together under one roof to mourn their beloved mother’s passing and then, shortly thereafter, their father’s murder trial.

A familiar framework that has been used in many a film in the past but what THE JUDGE does a little different is how it fills this frame. There are a number of peculiarities from the mentally challenged brother to the slight touch of incest which goes on (that was a bit uncomfortable).

 

THE JUDGE MOVIR IMAGE
THE JUDGE | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | ROBERT DOWNEY JNR AS HANK PALMER

 

Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jnr.) is a high rolling lawyer from the big city who comes back to his old home town to grieve over the death of his mother. He is joined by his family who never left the town, including Glenn (Vincent D’Onofrio, Law and Order) the older brother, and Dale (Jeremy Strong, Zero Dark Thirty), the mentally challenged brother. Last but not least is Papa Joseph Palmer. The big bad judge who scarred Hank as a child and can no longer bear to be in the same room as his son.

At times, the film really embraces the story offering a truly tender moment but the large majority just seems to be a wash of stylised Hollywood. A Hollywood film just trying to capitalise on its big hitters. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as sometimes this is what a script needs but this wasn’t one of those scripts. In my mind one of the best, if not the best, part of this film was Dale. The mentally challenged younger brother played by Jeremy Strong. Not a particularly well known actor but his character provided that dramatic anchor. The anchor that tied the family and film together. When he was on screen it provided that emotional connection for the viewer to the film.

 

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THE JUDGE | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | ROBERT DOWNEY JNR AS HANK PALMER AND ROBERT DUVALL AS JOSPEH PALMER

 

Robert Duvall was another standout for me. He is a powerful man, a stern man, he is the consiglieri. It is interesting to see such a man be stooped to such lows and it makes for great watching. The pairing with Robert Downey Jnr. didn’t really pay off as, even though they are both great actors, it lacked the depth to make you really believe in the love/hate relationship that they had.

While offering up some great talent and very heartfelt moments THE JUDGE hits just shy of the mark through its inability to make the film in a way which shows the emotion behind the story. The cast is strong, very strong, starring some seasoned actors. Billy Bob Thornton’s role as Robert Downey’s competition didn’t really evolve in anyway and wasn’t used to further the story, his time on screen was minimal as was his lines even though there seemed to be some sort of back story to their relationships, we never get to the crux of it.

 

3 and a Half Pops

 

 

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