No harsh judgements on this one

The Judge
English (U/A)
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga
Director: David Dobkin

Subtlety can be a difficult art to master. Too subtle and purposes go unnoticed; too much and it seems too blatant to be commendable. A single grain of rice can tip the scale and The Judge does falter sometimes in the balance of things.

Widely-respected Judge Joseph Palmer (Robert Duval) and Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr), a high-flying lawyer in Chicago, have an estranged father-son relationship. Hank has a lot of daddy issues, which is understandable considering his father is more of a cusser than a motivator. He would do anything to keep from being in the same room as his father and vice versa, but when his brother calls him and informs him about his mother’s death, an unlikely family reunion takes place at the funeral.

There is a clash of egos between father and son and just when Hank is about to escape the now-grim setting of his childhood home in Carolina, his brother informs him about another family emergency. This time, it’s because the judge has gotten himself into an accident that has potential to become a serious lawsuit.

The plot may sound like one of misery, but most of the time there are unexpected punches of humour, even in the most dramatic scenes. Much like his father, Hank oozes sarcasm and is facetiously humourous. But as the already slow-paced film progresses, it becomes more emotional and drags just a little.

Some viewers may feel like rekindling their relationships with their fathers or sons after this film, and for others, perhaps, bring about the realisation that they’re not the only ones with family troubles and move on. The Judge may also prove to be supremely irritating for the stoic. But for its unpredictable humour and symbolism, this film is worth a watch. The characters in The Judge are reminders of how conflicted we can be between choosing to wear our hearts on our sleeves and hiding behind masks of indifference.

After this film, you might just lay internal conflicts to rest and make the right choice.

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