THE JUDGE (2014) Movie Review, Downey & Duvall Are Acidic Magic

The Judge is about a tense relationship between father and son, where the son finds himself stepping up to defend his father who is being accused of vehicular murder. The son, being estranged from the family, finds this task bringing him back in touch with the family he's distanced himself from over the years, for what ever the reason.

But this murder charge and the work needed to defend his father takes this son, Hank Palmer, on quite the journey back through his past up to the present. It's harsh and wonderful, sort of. Once you get into the middle act, it becomes a wonderful tale of redemption.

It's a powerful movie with a powerful ending.


Robert Downey Jr plays the son, Hank Palmer, with Robert Duvall playing his dad. Vincent D'Onofrio plays Hank's brother, Glen, and Jeremy Strong plays the simple-minded Dale Palmer.

Other cast include Billy Bob Thornton, Vera Farmiga, Dax Shepard, & Leighton Meester .

Downey brings that snarky Tony Stark mode we've come to know over the last few Marvel movies he's been in, but refines it to a less humorous version with an acidic edge, an intolerance for those who are in the path of his life's goal of being a sharp-edged defense attorney. But he does something I wasn't sure he could, that was his performance distanced him from any other character I've seen him play over the last seven years.

Duvall brings it like he always does, showing us a man on the verge or cusp of life, looking over that precipice from life towards the dwindling years of one's twilight.

I'm a huge D'Onofrio fan and his role as Hank's brother wasn't a huge role, but still, D'Onofrio delivers.


The Judge is a solid piece of drama that was written, directed and produced by David Dobkin

To be honest I tend to prejudge films dependent on a director's resume. Dobkin's resume included R.I.P.D., Jack the Giant Slayer, Last Call, The Change-Up, and other films that reside in the comedic genre of films.

I would not have guessed what a solid film he could have put together, but this movie puts Dobkin on my radar for someone who can produce quite the dramatic tale of crime and family. Dang.


If you like a good, somber, engaging drama, The Judge is worth your time, rental money or purchase price. I would have never had a complaint about having dropped money on this movie in theaters had I gone to see it there.

I'm thinking I would give it a dramatic 8 score.

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  1. We watched this a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Every actor in it did a stellar job. Well worth the $1.50 at


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