Film Review: The Judge (NetFlix)

NetFlix invested in two Triple-A list stars and got a cut-price director and scriptwriter.

Robert Duvall plays the Judge. He’s declining into dementia. Piling cliché onto cliché he’s a traditional ‘Good Old Boy’ folk wisdom judge. He hates his lawyer son who only returns home when his mother dies. The Judge ‘hits and runs’ a white trash ex-con murderer. The prosecution said he did it intentionally and up steps his son to defend him.

Robert Downey Jr plays the son. He’s a hard ass lawyer, got an adorable daughter, a cheating wife, and returns to his home town ‘where nothing changes’. He meets an ex-flame, goes bicycle riding and falls off. I can’t think of any more cliches but I’m sure they’re there. He uses big-city lawyer tactics and sort-of-fails to get his terminally ill father off the charge.

Then compassionate remission of sentence, a fishing trip on a tranquil lake, a final admission that the Judge always thought his son was a great lawyer. On cue the Judge keels over and dies. Audience exits sobbing.

If you can park your critical faculties this is a good two hours+ of film. Brilliant acting, especially by the ninety year old Duvall. The mush can be sorted out with a bottle of wine.

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