The Judge (15)

Directed by David Dobkin
Picturehouse, Liverpool
17th October - 23rd October 2014

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

The Judge is very cliched with director David Dobkin plagiarising from a large variety of films too numerous to mention.

A redeeming feature, perhaps the only one, is the sterling performance by Robert Duvall, who is still a class act.

Apart from Duvall, as Judge Joseph Palmer, a cast of star actors can't rescue this movie from being no more than average.

Robert Downey Jr, who plays Hank, is the son ostracised by his father, Joseph - the reason for this banishment from his life only becomes apparent late in the film.

Hank is also part of the judiciary system - a very successful lawyer based in Chicago - having moved away from his childhood home in Indiana, where his dad still rules the roost in the local courthouse.

Father and son are reluctantly brought together, following the sudden death of their wife and mother.

Following the funeral Hank is due to return to the The Windy City, but is called back to defend his dad. He has been accused of murdering an ex-con, who Joseph had imposed a long jail sentence upon him for murdering his wife, following a hit-and-run incident.

There then ensues familiar courtroom drama episodes,including a cameo role from Billy Bob Thornton as the wily prosecutor.

The ending reminded me somewhat of On Golden Pond, starring Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn, but The Judge does not touch the heights of that film, even though that is also heavily cliched!

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