"Trust me," says not-so-trustworthy lawyer Henry Palmer, played by Robert Downey Jr., in The Judge
. "Nobody wants to go to Carlinville, Indiana. They just want to leave."
Even though Palmer put Carlinville in his rear-view mirror years ago, he didn't leave small town and some unfinished business with his family completely behind. Palmer is called back to his Indiana hometown from his six-figure life in Chicago when his mother dies suddenly but within hours of her funeral, he can't leave Carlinville soon enough. That is, until his father, a respected 40-year judge played by Robert Duvall, is accused of a crime that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life. Simply put, he needs a lawyer more than he needs a son and therein lies the tension. The Judge
has just enough plot twists to keep an audience engaged to this nicely-packed 140-minute big budget film, opening nationwide in October.
"But it's definitely not a typical courtroom drama," Downey told Boise Weekly
from the red carpet at the world premiere of The Judge
at the Toronto International Film Festival. "It's like of those great movies we all grew up with. It's a great piece of entertainment with a really strong theme."
Those themes are indeed strong—justice, mending deep wounds of the heart and the ultimate irony of becoming a parent's parent—and The Judge
is a good movie. Alas, it's not a great one.
Given an amazing supporting cast, which includes Billy Bob Thornton, Vera Farmiga and the under-appreciated Vincent D'Onofrio in an especially strong performance, The Judge
should do extremely well at the box office.