Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review - The Judge (2014)

Starring Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duvall and Vera Farmiga.
Directed by David Dobkin.
Runtime: 2hrs 22mins

The Judge features a star-studded cast of Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton and follows defense attorney Hank Palmer (played by Robert Downey Jr) who returns home upon hearing about the death of his mother. Hank seemingly strained relationship with his father Judge Palmer (Robert Duvall) is highlighted and things get rather interesting in the story when Judge Palmer gets accused of murder.

The Judge tackles the whole estranged family theme mixed with courtroom drama but it left me totally underwhelmed at the direction it headed in. I think this movie would have excelled mainly as a courtroom drama while still diving into the lives of the Palmer family, but instead the writers did the opposite and opted to bore us with the Palmer family issues and provide limited courtroom action. As a result, I felt the length of the movie because the whole family aspect of it was just so drawn out. The Judge should have been about thirty minutes shorter.

Seeing the circumstances and uncertainty surrounding Judge Palmer's murder case, I kept thinking why the narrative was not focused on this. They could have created the right amount of emotion and tension and delivered a riveting climax but the movie tried its best to disregard the case and make you try to care about everything else.

We got solid performances from the two leads Robert and Robert (especially when they were yapping at each other), but the lackluster script didn't allow me to care much about their daddy-son issues throughout. I also did not care for the forced budding romance between Hank and Samantha (played by Vera Farmiga). Vera Farmiga's character is completely useless. I do think the supporting characters could have been developed better, especially Hank's brothers (played by Jeremy Strong and Mike D'Onofrio). These two were given nothing to work with and were pretty much onlookers for much of the movie -- They should have been more instrumental as it relates to the strained family relationship and who knows, could have made it more interesting. On the flip side, the movie did deliver a few humorous moments and at the end of the day, I didn't fall asleep in the theater.

With a name like The Judge and so many big names attached, I was disappointed. With a better script, I would have probably cared more about the characters but they really should have focused more on the court case. We are left to suffer through an overlong drama with mostly boring dialogue and a disappointing cliched ending.

Rating: C

No comments:

Post a Comment