MOVIE REVIEW: THE JUDGE
Motion pictures can be films or movies. A film is a work of art in which the creative elements of script, editing, directing, acting, choreography, musical score and other artistic aspects make the film a seamless visual and audio experience that lasts through time.
Citizen Kane was one example. Casablanca was another. Barry Lyndon fits the definition of a film as well, as does Philomena. Movies would include most of the motion picture offerings released strictly for commercial success.
The Judge has a brilliant cast, script, direction, editing and visual portrayal of the tense and dynamic relationship between a successful attorney and his father, a small town judge. It clearly fits the definition of a film.
Robert Duvall is brilliant in portraying a judge who has stood by truth and unwavering principles of accountability under the law throughout his career on the bench. He does waver during our film, when these issues impact his personal life directly, but ultimately demands truth of himself as he has of others who have come before his bench over several decades.
Robert Downey Jr. has the role of his highly successful son who is a defense attorney in a large city environment. He returns home, though he and his father have alienation of affection, only because his mother has passed away and he attends her funeral.
The relationship between these two central characters of the film is brilliant in its scripting and the acting dynamic between Mr. Downey and Mr. Duvall. I had the sense that Robert Duvall brought out the best in Robert Downey Jr. who had to match the brilliance of this veteran actor as his son, and he did so superbly.
There are clear conflicts of values that must be resolved, relationships between characters in the film that have a compelling presence about them, prosecuting attorneys and defense attorneys during a court trial who must choose between compromise or strict adherence to the law and other sub-plots or issues that raise powerful issues for the audience to consider.
It would be surprising if The Judge did not receive academy award nominations for best actor, best supporting actor, best film, and best director.