Judge, The (2014)

Director: David Dobkin

Writers: Nick Schenk, Bill Dubuque, David Dobkin

Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Dax Shepard

Running Time: 141 mins.

Big city lawyer Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr) returns to his childhood home where his father, the town’s judge played by Robert Duvall, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family including two brothers Greg and Dale played wonderfully by Vincent D’Onofrio and Jeremy Strong, and a former girlfriend, Vera Farmiga.

This is an excellent thought provoking drama with superb performances from a top notch cast.  So good to see Robert Downey Jr. doing great drama with the support of Robert Duvall who can portray annoyingly ornery and sympathetic in the same breath.

Dax Shepard successfully plays the inexperienced and incompetent attorney who’s performance almost gets the judge a permanent home in prison before Hank takes over the case.   Billy Bob Thornton oozes tough prosecutor, a man who thinks the entire Palmer family needs to be taken down a peg or two.

Lotta says: Loved it from the first frame.  Jeremy Strong and Vincent D’Onofrio add smart humor and just the right amount of it to the drama which touches on the serious issues of health, aging, estrangement, the dynamics of family relationships, and of course, murder.