The Judge

A Bad Case of Cliche

Benjamin Fournier (Office Manager)

Court room dramas have been out of the box-office spotlight for quite some time, but every now and then, a classic rises up out of nowhere to steal our hearts and secure its place in the history of cinema.

While The Judge (starring Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall) might seem like it would be destined to be our generation’s A Few Good Men, David Dobkin’s starstudded story of a family torn apart and brought back together falls short of expectations.

The story begins as big-shot lawyer Hank Palmer (Downey) receives a phone call announcing the death of his beloved mother. Hank then goes to the small town where he was raised to attend his mother’s funeral. There, he reunites with his two brothers and his father, federal judge Joseph Palmer (Duvall).

Tensions run high as the family’s rocky past is brought to the forefront, but family qualms quickly take a back seat as Judge Palmer is accused of murdering a man he once prosecuted.

As Hank attempts to keep his father out of jail, he learns of the secret that Joseph has been keeping from his other two children.   Now, the trial is set to become a battle of legacy versus family.

Despite the incredibly solid performance by its lead actors and an emotionally engaging plot, The Judge is filled with clichés so obvious that they hinder the enjoyment of viewers to the point of no return.

However, it is still worth seeing at some point, simply due to the sheer star power of the movie.

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