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The Judge (2014)

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Big-city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his father, the town's judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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1,234 ( 206)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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C.P. Kennedy
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Judge Warren
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Lauren Palmer
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Deputy Hanson
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Mike Kattan
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Mrs. Blackwell
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Lisa Palmer
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Storyline

Hank Palmer is a successful defense attorney in Chicago, who is getting a divorce. When His brother calls with the news that their mother has died, Hank returns to his childhood home to attend the funeral. Despite the brittle bond between Hank and the Judge, Hank must come to his father's aid and defend him in court. Here, Hank discovers the truth behind the case, which binds together the dysfunctional family and reveals the struggles and secrecy of the family. Written by Warren D'Souza

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Defend your Honor.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 October 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El juez  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,116,226 (USA) (10 October 2014)

Gross:

$47,105,085 (USA) (9 January 2015)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Grace Zabriskie and Robert Duvall played a couple in A Family Thing (1996). See more »

Goofs

When Judge Palmer is arrested, he is fingerprinted using the ink method. In Indiana, as a state employee, Judge Palmer's fingerprints would have already been on file with the State, and there would not have been any need to fingerprint him again. But, even if there had been a need to fingerprint him, Indiana moved away from ink fingerprinting, and adopted a universal system of digital fingerprints in 2013, the year before this film was released. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mike Kattan: [stomping into the mens room] You're not getting away with this. Palmer, you asshole!... Hey!
Hank Palmer: [turning toward him getting him wet] Yeah. Oops.
See more »


Soundtracks

Storms
Written by Stevie Nicks (as Stephanie Nicks)
Performed by Fleetwood Mac
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
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User Reviews

 
Enjoyable when it centers on the family dynamics, but fails as a courthouse thriller
20 October 2014 | by (Ecuador) – See all my reviews

"My father is a lot of unpleasant things, but murderer is not one of them."

The Judge may not be the highly effective powerhouse courtroom drama we were expecting when we first heard about the pairing of Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall, but it isn't the terrible film some critics are describing it as either. Most of us had high expectations for The Judge but once the first reviews started coming in my expectations were lowered so I went into this with moderate expectations. It is a somewhat effective melodrama when it centers on the father and son family dynamics, but when it tries to include other subplots like the courtroom drama scenes and the relationship with a former lover, the film falls flat and feels overlong.

Director David Dobbin succeeds when he gets Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall in a room together. Those are the most effective scenes of the film and they standout because both actors are on the top of their game. Dobbin however fails when he tries to cram other dramatic elements into this film, and he does so way too often. At 144 minutes, The Judge could have been more effective if it were cut short and centered exclusively on the family dynamics rather than on the rest of the subplots that Dobbin is cramming into the film. The problem is that Dobbin is trying too hard to make a serious film since this is his first time directing a non-comedy.

Audiences who were expecting a Grisham style courtroom drama will be disappointed because that aspect of the story falls flat, but as a film centering on a dysfunctional father and son relationship it succeeds thanks to the two lead actors. When the two Roberts get together The Judge pulls at your heart strings effectively, but the rest of the scenes do feel clichéd and manipulative (especially the scenes involving those home movie projections). I also enjoyed this as a character study of the different family dynamics and I appreciated the films intentions about giving an honest portrayal of aging through Duvall's character. There are some powerful scenes, but they are ruined sometimes by the clichés the film follows.

Aside from Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall's powerful performances (they are both at their best here), there is also a very interesting supporting performances from Vincent D'Onofrio. His scenes with Downey are relevant as well and he holds his own. Billy Bob Thornton doesn't really get much character development considering the court case is simply included as an excuse to keep this family together. Farming is a wonderful actress and she gives a strong performance as well, but her scenes really don't add anything to the film and their subplot could have been left out.

The premise of the film isn't anything we haven't seen before either. The story centers on a hot shot lawyer from a big city who is returning to the small town he grew up and ran away from, for his mother's funeral. He doesn't want to stay long because his relationship with his father is a disaster and we get a glimpse of it early on. Those scenes are powerful but not entirely original. Downey plays the smart mouth witty son to perfection, while Duvall is the uptight and stern father who he can easily play in his sleep. The only moment where Duvall and Downey were on screen together that didn't work for me was when they begin discussing their personal issues while his father stands on trial. That was just one example of a forced moment where melodrama seemed more important than authenticity. There are several moments like this that hurt this film, but the few authentic moments are powerful enough to recommend this it. The Judge isn't a bad film, it's just one that had the potential to be so much more.


43 of 67 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Totally overrated. Nothing really happens. Boring lgalnares
the spinning chair scene at the end... Ali-Sommane
Kinda felt like a comedy..? hysterryes
am i the only one that's noticing ppl on here datgurlsam
Too little Robert Downey Jr and Vera Farmiga's scene! ahling_2809
Am I the only one that noticed jew_59
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