Sunday, December 28, 2014

Review: The Judge (2014)

                         'The Judge' Bangs The Gavel Too Much

              Since the film is about a father and his son, I figured I'd bring up something my own father always said: "When you put a bunch of great actors in a film with an awful script, it is like polishing a turd". That is certainly the crime that The Judge is guilty of and on more than one charge.

   The Judge follows the story of a hotshot Chicago lawyer (Robert Downey, Jr.) who returns to his small town in Indiana to attend his mother's funeral. There is where he must reconnect with his family, including his father (Robert Duvall), a judge who gets arrested for allegedly murdering someone.

    I did think Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Duvall did a fine job with what they are given. I also thought RD and Vera Farmiga, who plays an old flame of his, had great chemistry. The other actors aren't really fleshed out but they do the best with what they have. Plus, the film was beautifully shot.

    First off, this film is just WAY too long. It runs at about 2 and a half hours and there is so much unnecessary filler. In my opinion, it should've been about 106 minutes maximum.

     Next, I thought the film is "guilty" of too many cliches. The whole idea of a hotshot trying to learn the error of his ways and father and son butting heads has been done before and the film tries to rely on cheap sentiment when Duvall's character (spoiler alert) becomes diagnosed with cancer. Plus, there is this whole subplot that involves Farmiga's character's daughter and without giving anything away, I'll just say that it eventually gets gross.

     I also felt that the characters were so unlikable. Even as the different dramatic events start to unfold, like the father dying and getting arrested, you could still care less what the end result is for these people. While watching this, I just couldn't wait for this thing to be over.

     Overall, my final verdict on The Judge is that it is guilty of one too many cliches, unsympathetic characters, excessive length, and trite melodrama. I wouldn't say the actors should immediately go to movie jail after this, but they deserved much better material.

       Would I Recommend It?:
       No way. Even if you love RDJ as much as I do, I would say look elsewhere. Life is short.

Grade: D

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