2014 Movie Reviews: The Judge

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Ah, this one. It’s an Oscar nominee, and it was on On Demand, so I saw it. But I was very aware if this film’s less than favorable reviews. And while I think that the film is better than people are letting on, it’s not exactly one of the stronger films this year.

I think the biggest problem with the film is that there are a number of subplots that aren’t really related to the main plot and just make the film longer than it needs to be to tell this story. The film’s slow pace and over-reliance on dialogue makes me think that this story might have been better if it was done as a play instead of a film.

But with that said, when the film focuses on the relationship between Downey and Duvall, it actually becomes pretty good. True, the writing and directing are a tad obvious, but luckily Downey and Duvall do have good chemistry, and they work well off of each other.

Robert Downey Jr.’s performance is a mixed bag. There are moments when he’s giving a good performance, and other moments when he’s just playing Tony Stark all over again. Robert Duvall, on the other hand, is actually really good, and he did a great job elevating the script and adding a new dimension to a character that, in the hands of another actor, could have seemed one-note. I fully support this Oscar nomination for the film.

The film does have some decent moments, and it certainly is watchable, but the directing and writing is a tad obvious. I think that this story might be better off as a play, and the only upside to this being a film is a great performance by Robert Duvall.

***1/2

One thought on “2014 Movie Reviews: The Judge

  1. I didn’t hate this movie, but I was actually kind of bored by it (and I’m a huge Robert Downey, Jr. fan). It’s possible that his character and that of his dad (and their history just weren’t developed well for my tastes). I found it actually a bit cliched in a lot of ways (troubled guy goes back home, has difficult relationship with dad, hooks up with his high school girlfriend, etc). I think for the raves it got I was expecting more.

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