The Judge – Where’s the justice?

by Yo Snyder

The Judge was a
welcome relief from many of my movies as of late.  It had been too long since I had taken in a
good drama.  Seeing the previews,
something about the Judge looked appealing. 
Unfortunately, it did not exactly deliver on its star quality and
potential academy award winning performances.  
We find Robert Downey Jr. as an Ivy League graduate and defense attorney
extraordinaire.   Hated by all who do
good for defending the worst of the worst, because “if you are not guilty, you
can’t afford my services”.   Thus sets
the stage for our egotistical lead actor to journey through reconnecting with
his small town history to learn why he is the hard edged defense attorney.  The movie drips with postmodern family dynamics,
daddy ignores mommy for work so mommy cheats. 
Only child is only all too familiar with the effects of divorce and
discusses it with daddy.  Daddy makes his
way back home to feel comfortable cheating himself.  And don’t hold your breath that anyone finds
redemption in this movie.  Which I will
say up front is my biggest complaint, I wanted a drama that showed some redemption
where none was given.  And that is after
so many potential set ups for redemption – husband and wife reconcile after
realizing they love each other, brothers reconcile after realizing that past
mistakes can be forgiven, father and son reconcile after son saves the day, and
on it goes.  But we get all these great
set ups for redemption and no satisfaction. 
In fact, the closest thing we get is an understanding of why the father hates
the son, no reconciliation per se, just understanding.  Oh, and a big fat compliment for the son at
the end of the movie, the only positive affirmation he will get from his father
during the movie.

The Judge is a good movie by Hollywood standards, the acting
is done well (not great, but well), the story draws you in and gives you
characters to cheer for, and the small town setting is memorable.  But none of these elements come together to
make a great drama story.  And this is
the kind of expectation you have going into a movie with this high caliber cast
and story back drop, you expect big things which may be why I hesitate to
recommend this film as a must see drama. 
Compared to other Nick Sparks type dramas of late, it’s a win, compared
to its potential, it’s a loss.  But I
talked to fellow movie goers who found it a much more engaging story than I
did.  Perhaps they did not have as high
of hopes.  So while this movie goer was
not disappointed with his matinee dollars spent,  the film fell short of its potential.

4 out of 7 – the movie
is rated R for subject matter and lots of foul language.  However, this reviewer notes that the foul
language was used appropriately for dramatic effect as oppose to just seeing
how many times we can drop foul language into the dialog.