A legal drama that focuses more on the human side of things without losing its charm. Also, seriously, why isn't this one being talked about more?
The Judge is a story about a prodigal son who has come home to visit his family after his mother has died. Robert Downey plays the part of the corrupt defense lawyer son while Robert Duvall plays the moralistic Judge father. Needless to say, there are a LOT of conflicts in that family dynamic and that's fine because the two of them are both really good actors and manage to pull it off perfectly well. Eventually shit happens during the film and his father is accused of murder and RDJ must defend him in court. Mostly because the other lawyer in their small hometown really sucks.
This is a legal film that has a twist at the end. We never really find out IF the father is guilty of murder or not, due to plot-reasons of amnesia. And there are many things pointing both one way or the other but in reality, it's never quite solved to my liking. The drama is fairly standard for legal dramas but with less discovery of evidence and investigations and focusing more on the relationship drama of the duo. I mean, the son hates the father for being strict with him while the father hates the son for becoming a corrupt defense lawyer who will defend scum-suckers even knowing they're guilty. We dwelve a bit more into the dynamics of the family and it works because as I said, RDJ and Duvall bring a LOT to the scenes.
There's quite a few funny moments in the film, and it really seems like RDJ is pretty much typecast to play Iron Man like characters in films now, with the snarky comebacks and the arrogant postures and attitude. However, the film itself doesn't bring anything fresh to the table. There are no twists or surprises that you don't really see coming but despite all this, it's still a genuinely enjoyable film. Even if it does take a while to get started since it's about 30 minutes into the film before the father even gets accused of murder. Before that, it's really just about RDJ coming back home to be bitched at by his father and to bitch back at him.