The Judge has the makings of a great drama. Robert Downey Jr., at the height
of his acting powers, has to defend his estranged father, Robert Duvall (the
judge of the title), in a murder case shortly after the (natural) death of
Unfortunately, The Judge gets bogged down in a million
subplots (Downey maybe has a daughter he never knew about; he’s getting
divorced; his brother, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, blames him for a years past
car accident; Downey’s ex-girlfriend, played by an underused Vera Farmiga,
still lives in town), and Downey and Duvall literally have the same argument on
camera about four times.
All that would be fine—each actor in this movie is superb—if it
didn’t bog down the pacing. The Judge,
at two hours and 21 minutes, is overlong by 40. Perhaps Downey the producer
should have fired the editor, or at least let one of the other producers or
director David Dobkin trim things a little. Plus, and this is something that
only a native Hoosier would know, the towns standing in for the fictional
Indiana town on screen are most definitely not found in Indiana.
Downey and Duvall are great, even if they don’t have to stretch
much, and Janusz Kaminski’s photography is beautiful. But The Judge—which
wants to be a big event picture—is kind of a snooze.
Downey, Duvall and Farmiga
Santa Fe Reporter
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