The Judge It's been a while since we've seen Robert Downey Jr. as anything other than Iron Man or Sherlock Holmes. But in The Judge , he… The Judge It's been a while since we've seen Robert Downey Jr. as anything other than Iron Man or Sherlock Holmes. But in The Judge , he… 2014-10-10 R PT141M Drama Vincent D'Onofrio Robert Downey Jr. Vera Farmiga Leighton Meester Warner Bros.
Movie Review

The Judge (2014)

MPAA Rating: R
THE JUDGE Robert Downey Jr. and Billy Bob Thornton
Image credit: Claire Folger
THE JUDGE Robert Downey Jr. and Billy Bob Thornton
EW's GRADE
B

Details Release Date: Oct 10, 2014; Rated: R; Length: 141 Minutes; Genre: Drama; With: Vincent D'Onofrio, Robert Downey Jr., Vera Farmiga and Leighton Meester; Distributor: Warner Bros.

It's been a while since we've seen Robert Downey Jr. as anything other than Iron Man or Sherlock Holmes. But in The Judge, he plays the closest thing to a real human being he's tackled in ages. The film is a throwback to the rousing, middle-of-the-road courtroom dramas that flourished during the Grisham box office gold rush of the mid-'90s. Back then, movies like The Firm and A Time to Kill turned self-righteousness and witness-stand theatrics into the kinds of crowd-pleasers that made you think. How quaint. How old-fashioned. How extinct.

I don't expect The Judge to usher in a new era of legal thrillers, but I'm happy to see Downey leave the Marvel universe and Baker Street behind. As hotshot Chicago attorney Hank Palmer, Downey is his usual onscreen type — the whip-smart wiseass who's cynical and selfish...until he's not. When his mother dies, he returns to his rural Indiana hometown and is forced to stay and defend his estranged, holier-than-thou father (Robert Duvall), a respected local judge, after he's arrested for the hit-and-run murder of an ex-con he once put away. What makes the film more than just a dusty Grisham retread is that the case (as compelling as it is) is merely the backdrop for a more emotionally engaging story about fathers and sons played, like a duet, by two virtuoso actors who give the film not only all they have but probably more than it requires. B

Originally posted Oct 08, 2014 Published in issue #1333 Oct 17, 2014 Order article reprints
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Weekend of Nov 23 Box Office Source: Rentrak Corp.
Rank Title Weekend Gross* Weeks on Chart Cume. Gross* EW Grade
1. $123.0 1 $123.0 B-
2.
Big Hero 6
Walt Disney Pictures
$20.1 3 $135.7 B+
3.
Interstellar
Paramount
$15.1 3 $120.7 B-
4.
Dumb and Dumber To
Universal
$13.8 2 $57.5 C-
5.
Gone Girl
Fox
$2.8 8 $156.8 A
6.
Beyond the Lights
Relativity
$2.6 2 $10.1 B+
7.
St. Vincent
Weinstein Co.
$2.4 7 $36.6 B
8.
Fury
Sony
$1.9 6 $79.1 C+
9.
Birdman
Fox Searchlight
$1.9 6 $14.4 A-
10.
Nightcrawler
Open Road
$1.2 4 $27.2 B+
* in millions

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