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The Judge

7/10
Drama . Crime
 

A successful lawyer returns to his hometown for his mother's funeral only to discover that his estranged father, the town's judge, is suspected of murder.

 
Actors: Robert Downey Jr. , Robert Duvall , Vera Farmiga , Vincent D'Onofrio , Jeremy Strong , Billy Bob Thornton , Sarah Lancaster , David Krumholtz , Emma Tremblay , Ken Howard
Directors: David Dobkin
Country: USA
Release: 2014-10-10
More Info:
  • Rex Reed

    Equal parts courtroom drama, legal thriller and family saga, it’s also a synchronized duet for two terrific actors at the top of their craft that left me stunned.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    Speaking of committed: Duvall, at age 83, nearly steals the show. Always the most inscrutable of the great ’70s actors, Duvall uses his great, unassuming American face to convey pride, confusion, pain and compassion — sometimes all at once.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    Overlong and sometimes schmaltzy — but still hugely engaging.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Beethoven once went five years without composing. Until now, Downey has gone five years without making anything close to a serious movie. The bigger waste of time was Beethoven’s, but talent wasted is talent wasted. This is the type of film Downey should be making.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    Despite playing with a stacked deck, The Judge is guilty of exceeding expectations.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Chris Nashawaty

    What makes the film more than just a dusty Grisham retread is that the case (as compelling as it is) is merely the backdrop for a more emotionally engaging story about fathers and sons played, like a duet, by two virtuoso actors who give the film not only all they have but probably more than it requires.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    However unwieldy the final result, Dobkin and company deserve credit for helping Duvall and Downey create vibrant, dramatic characters that involve the performers in rousing, stem-winder ways.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Sure, there's a witty reference to another, vastly more momentous legal drama (To Kill a Mockingbird, Robert Duvall's film debut). And yes, Farmiga gets to call out Downey, and stay in character, for "that hyper-verbal vocabulary vomit thing that you do." Small pleasures, in a bigger mess.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Two words that come to mind when considering The Judge are generic and predictable. It's also well-intentioned and earnest (perhaps to a fault).

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    A slick, ripsnorting character drama whose artistic ambitions are consistently neutralized by its commercial imperatives, puts Downey in a box from which even he can’t escape.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Susan Wloszczyna

    An unabashedly adult drama and a steadfastly old-fashioned one.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Of the 141 minutes in The Judge, roughly 70 work well, hold the screen and allow a ripe ensemble cast the chance to do its thing, i.e., act. The other 71 are dominated by narrative machinery going ka-THUNKITA-thunkita-thunkita.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Damon Wise

    A great cast and promising premise get swamped in an awkward mix of airport-novel noir and blokey family melodrama.

    Empire Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    Sure, these roles aren't exactly a stretch, with Duvall being crotchety and Downey being sharp-witted. But that familiarity is part of the appeal. They're good at this. Really good. After all, as has been noted, they're not movie stars for nothing.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Dave Calhoun

    A charismatic performance from Downey Jr and the growling presence of Duvall makes up for a multitude of sins in this big and brash family drama that puts the heavy emphasis on drama over family.

    Time Out London Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    The Judge pivots on a simple yet inspired stroke of casting, pitting Duvall’s iconic gravitas against Downey’s razor-sharp wit, and then supplying no shortage of opportunities for both men to chew the scenery.

    Variety Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    The reason this overstuffed movie remains tolerable is the inspired casting of Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr. as a combative father and son, and their determination to out-thespian each other.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    There is nothing surprising about the way this overlong movie, written and directed by David Dobkin, plays itself out.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    The movie isn’t without its pleasures, most of them related to performance. Farmiga, a perennially underrated actor, gives Samantha a measured confidence that sets Hank’s manic cockiness on edge, and Billy Bob Thornton does an effective variation on a slimy archetype as the prosecutor, Dwight Dickham.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    In The Judge, a legal drama that builds to the requisite Hollywood Dark Night of the Soul, Robert Downey Jr. has a role so far inside his comfort zone that the movie has no drive, no urgency.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Jeff Baker

    Thornton restrains himself (especially compared to Downey and Duvall) until his cross-examination of Duvall, when he throws off that "Fargo" menacing restraint and throws it down. You go, Billy Bob!

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Director David Dobkin, best known for comedies such as "Shanghai Nights" and "Wedding Crashers," demonstrates his serious intent mostly by paint-by-numbers psychology and a ponderous pace.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Inkoo Kang

    The Judge is tailor-made for Downey's gift for delivering a quippy, arrogant put-down like he's doing his target a favor. Hank's anti-heroism is a refreshing splash of lemon juice with an occasional spritz of sour vinegar. But much of director David Dobkin‘s cynically cloying legal and family drama goes down like a lump of aspartame.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    The actual case isn’t all that complex or compelling, and the eventual explanation for what happened is almost an afterthought. By the time all the ghosts and feuds have been put to rest, it’s surprising how little we care about these characters.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    A classic example of a second-rate courtroom drama.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    The Judge is watchable but thoroughly specious. It’s dull and reassuring, an infantile fantasy of homecoming and forgiveness set in a mythical version of America no one in the target audience has ever seen.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    The Judge is well served by intense performances from stars Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, but is undercut by obvious note-hitting in the writing and a deliberate pace that drags things out about twenty minutes past their due date.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Kevin Jagernauth

    The Judge has the curious ability of straining too hard while managing to say nothing dramatically.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Keith Phipps

    The Judge ultimately plays less like a film than a series of big moments, some of which work well. Downey, Duvall, Farmiga, D’Onofrio, and Thornton aren’t known for making dull choices, and they often dig out nuance where others wouldn’t find it.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    The Judge gives the sense of resting on its casting laurels.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    The Judge has its funny moments but is far more serious at heart, and much more of a slog, too.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Jane Mulkerrins

    There are also moments of more sincere family dynamics, which elevate the production beyond a hackneyed made-for-television movie. But they are too few to prevent a guilty conviction for Dobkin: first-degree, low-grade schlock.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • Catherine Shoard

    The Judge is a timeless film, in that it could have been made at almost any point over the past 80 years: rote plot, functional support, well-signalled twists. It’s a two-seater star vehicle offering little legroom for other passengers.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    How did talent like this conspire to pump out such bilge? I mean, really.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    A bloated all-star melodrama with none of the lean, mean legalese of a John Grisham adaptation, it’s a showboat’s movie cast with a lot of actors each promised “a big, cool scene.”

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Drew McWeeny

    The Judge is risible Hollywood dreck, a star vehicle with nothing genuine driving it, and at 142 minutes, it is nearly impossible to defend.

    HitFix Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    Various secrets come dribbling out... They add up to a sprawl of narrative that is as unconvincing as the suspiciously sprawl-free, nostalgia-tinged town where it all takes place.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    “Expendables 3” has fewer nauseating clichés than The Judge.

    Film.com Full Review
  • Chris Cabin

    One long trial of moral duty, and one that excuses repugnant behavior and psychological warfare in lieu of a repetitive, condescending sermon on honoring thy father.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
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  • father son relationship

  • judge

  • lawyer

  • courtroom

  • dysfunctional family

  • trial

  • indiana

  • family relationships

  • father son estrangement

  • funeral

  • court

  • jury selection

  • matching blood evidence

  • grandfather granddaughter relationship

  • police interrogation

  • murder trial

  • small town

  • redemption

  • incestuous desire

  • incestuous kiss

  • movie camera

  • childhood home

  • airport

  • divorce

  • murder

  • bar

  • american flag at half mast

  • compassionate prison release

  • bit o honey

  • man crying

  • guilty verdict

  • carton of eggs

  • bare chested male

  • blackout

  • framed for murder

  • hands free bicycle riding

  • food freezer

  • metaphor

  • averting a fight

  • playing chess

  • visiting mother's grave

  • mens room

  • conversation in a men's bathroom

  • chess

  • manmade waterfall

  • hush puppy

  • destroying a film projector

  • anger

  • diagnosis

  • reference to kool aid

  • packing

  • change of venue

  • indiana state penitentiary

  • deep freezer

  • 1971 cadillac deville

  • raised middle finger

  • impounding a car

  • magic 8 ball

  • spitting on a car window

  • murder of son

  • cadillac

  • airplane

  • missing someone

  • insurance fraud

  • fraud

  • beer

  • suitcase

  • police car

  • coffee

  • manslaughter

  • hit by a car

  • murder by drowning

  • contract

  • pro bono

  • clenched fist

  • homecoming

  • american flag

  • truck

  • tractor

  • rental car

  • hydrangea

  • reference to saint francis

  • birth certificate

  • porch

  • vomiting into a toilet bowl

  • purgatory

  • surveillance camera

  • reference to homer simpson

  • trophy

  • reference to saint joseph

  • reference to sir thomas more

  • giving a toast

  • bumper sticker

  • law student

  • van

  • impotence

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  • reference to charles francis jenkins

  • blood clot

  • ceiling fan

  • church

  • dying

  • wedding ring

  • little girl driving a car

  • alzheimer's disease

  • falling off a bicycle

  • snapping turtle

  • hospital bed

  • hospital

  • vending machine

  • indiana state prison

  • high school yearbook

  • crawling on the floor

  • diner owner

  • reference to the boy scouts

  • reference to atticus finch

  • stubbornness

  • penis slur

  • crying man

  • generosity

  • selfishness

  • gravestone

  • reference to the bible

  • looking at one's self in a mirror

  • mirror

  • old friend

  • loneliness

  • face slap

  • mistrial

  • underwear

  • scene of the crime

  • umbrella

  • legacy

  • trust

  • bicycle

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  • urinating on a grave

  • verdict

  • shower

  • giving someone a shower

  • ambulance

  • confession

  • photograph

  • tragic event

  • prison

  • reference to god

  • law

  • jury

  • reading aloud

  • morphine

  • pain

  • sheriff

  • liar

  • cheating wife

  • snake

  • divorce lawyer

  • dead body

  • corpse

  • innocence

  • guilt

  • waitress

  • diner

  • cafe

  • breakfast

  • unfaithfulness

  • extramarital affair

  • adultery

  • sunglasses

  • car accident

  • bail

  • parole

  • thunder

  • grave

  • burial

  • restaurant

  • eating

  • food

  • newspaper headline

  • newspaper

  • mother son relationship

  • testimony

  • mug shot

  • arrest

  • little girl

  • street life

  • overhead shot

  • uncle nephew relationship

  • forgetfulness

  • widower

  • rain

  • movie projector

  • illness

  • subjective camera

  • funeral home

  • coffin

  • husband wife relationship

  • kiss

  • courthouse

  • marriage

  • pregnancy

  • child support

  • joke telling

  • cellphone

  • flash forward

  • flashback

  • basement

  • mentally challenged brother

  • defecating on the floor

  • chemotherapy

  • bullying

  • flag at half mast

  • reference to thurgood marshall

  • first in class

  • prison visit

  • percocet

  • ice cream cone

  • knock knock joke

  • male in a shower

  • waterfall

  • breaking a window

  • baseball trophy

  • bicycle crash

  • reference to ronald reagan

  • reference to ulysses s. grant

  • walking in the rain

  • colon cancer

  • grackle

  • crossword puzzle

  • camera shot of feet

  • barefoot man

  • cadillac deville

  • childhood memory

  • fishing

  • male vomiting

  • reference to pablo picasso

  • new york cityscape

  • brother brother relationship

  • female using hair for pretend moustache

  • putting one's hair under nose like a moustache

  • convenience store

  • broken car headlight

  • damaged fender

  • bully

  • former alcoholic

  • heart attack

  • surveillance tape evidence

  • homicidal anger

  • infidelity

  • lake

  • witness impeachment

  • cross examination

  • special prosecutor

  • narcissism

  • trailer trash

  • judge on trial

  • tornado warning

  • storm siren

  • uncle daughter sex

  • illegitimate daughter

  • tattooed woman

  • 8mm film

  • home movie

  • postmodernism

  • f word

  • stage four cancer

  • diarrhea

  • surveillance footage

  • video surveillance

  • lie

  • paternity revealed

  • paternity

  • considering divorce

  • riding a bicycle

  • bicycling

  • memory loss

  • amnesia

  • memory

  • boat

  • bathroom

  • urinating on someone

  • urination

  • toilet

  • terminal illness

  • doctor

  • cancer

  • tombstone

  • cemetery

  • father daughter relationship

  • drunkenness

  • drinking

  • drink

  • tornado

  • suspicion

  • death

  • death of wife

  • pride

  • cynicism

  • hit and run

  • accused of murder

  • chicago illinois

  • ex boyfriend ex girlfriend relationship

  • father son relationship

  • death of son

  • death of father

  • death of mother

  • plot twist

  • remote control

  • killing a deer

  • hitting a deer with a car

  • son gives father a shower

  • 72 year old

  • 17 year old

  • knocking on a door

  • same day verdict and sentence

  • dementia

  • girl

  • mother daughter relationship

  • female bartender

  • reference to willie nelson

  • reference to pink floyd

  • reference to metallica

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