Geeky Cinephile Musings…
I don't pontificate, I blather.

Judge not, lest…

*Teensy spoiler in here! Caveat Lector!!

THE JUDGE

Directed by: David Dobkin

Written by: (Screenplay) Nick Schenk & Bill Dubuque (Story) Nick Schenk & David Dobkin

Stars: Robert Downey, Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Billy Bob Thornton, Jeremy Strong

First Impression: Oh man…I’m gonna hate this, aren’t I? Two of my favorite actors, and I’m gonna fucking hate this.

Final Impression: Well alrighty then.  I didn’t hate it! Hooray!! It’s interesting that this one came right after The Theory of Everything.  This film had a sappy story and a not-so-hot plot but incredible acting from the two leading men really saved it for me.  Whereas, The Theory of Everything, as I mentioned, also had incredible acting from the leading male actor…but even that wasn’t enough to save the ridiculously overwrought cinematography, supremely cliché script, and bad casting.  I feel like if TTOE had perhaps toned down the clichés just a little, it could have won me over ultimately, as The Judge has.  (Sorry, Bill, I know you’re shaking your head as you read this.)

For the most part, I found this film to be (again, courtroom plot aside) very poignant, very upsetting, and very apt in terms of family relationships, and parent/child relationships in particular.  The moments between Duvall, Downey Jr., and D’Onofrio are the best in the film.  Those three men are so completely grounded in reality, Duvall and D’Onofrio (Jesus, there’s a lot of capital D’s happening here…) especially.  Duvall’s scene at the cemetery made me boo hoo.  All that man has to do is sigh, and I’m completely with him.  What a wonderfully delightful actor that man is.  He just breaks my heart, truly.

The script and plot were very meh, and when I look at Nick Schenk’s previous writing credits, of which there aren’t many, I see Gran Torino…which explains a lot.  The whole is-that-my-daughter-that-I-made-out-with??!!! bit really should have been ditched.  Lame. O.

Overall: I was pleasantly and surprisingly entertained by this film.  Not blown away, but it’s far more solid than I was led to believe by many…and FAR better than the trailers hinted at.  Sheesh, those were awful!

 

Wanna see more mini reviews of the 2015 SAG awards season screeners?

Birdman

The Theory of Everything

The Imitation Game

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