Monday, January 19, 2015

The Judge (2014)

“[My father] loved me tenderly and shyly from a distance, and later on took a naive pride in seeing my name in print.” ― Arthur Koestler

Jarvis said it was refreshing to see a video of Tony Stark in clothing being that there were so many of them in armor.

Felt the same for a while watching The Judge.  It was refreshing to see Tony Stark in another movie. He talks smart; he had fancy clothes, he had swagger.  No doubt Tony Stark or Robert Downey, Jr. can play a great lawyer as required.

It was a slow start. For the first few minutes I thought Iron Man was just too iconic and RDJ’s talents did make him invulnerable to type casting. In any case I did not mind watching a Robert Downey, Jr. movie at all.  I certainly feel the same way with the movies of many a Hollywood A-Lister.

But I spoke too soon.  Nearly a quarter into the movie the supporting cast was getting into the flow. There is a saying the whole is more than the sum of its parts; I found that true for this movie. There was more to see than RDJ and the lead character Hank Palmer, big shot city lawyer.

Robert Duvall leads those other parts to balance against the formidable RDJ.  He plays Joseph Palmer aka the Judge aka Hank’s father.  It must be noted also that Duvall’s efforts for the movie have been rewarded, at this point least, with a nomination for Oscar Best Supporting Actor. 

And Duvall deserves it.

Joseph Palmer went toe to toe with big shot son all throughout the movie. Strict judge, pillar of the community, recently widowed meets after so many years hotshot lawyer son whom he had sentenced earlier on in life.  Tony Stark was no more the moment Hank and Joseph Palmer began slugging it out. 

Pain, pride, and longing; the emotions when those two were going at it was always fluctuating. You never what to feel each time. Their chemistry was perfect that I did eventually think about my own father.  Maybe felt that wannabe tear at the sides of my eye, but I held it together. Promise. 

The rest of the Palmer brood includes Vincent D'Onofrio as Glenn Palmer and Jeremy Strong as Dale Palmer. One had broken dreams and the other mentally challenged. Going back to the father was just the tip of the iceberg.

But the ace in the hole for the movie is definitely Lauren Palmer played by Emma Tremblay. Lauren is Hank Palmer’s daughter. Cute, smart, adorable; I was completely sold saying to myself: Joseph, Hank, you gotta kiss and make up.  You guys can’t make that young girl cry.

Balancing off the depressing situations is Samantha Powell played by Vera Farmiga. She is the love interest who at right moments has the little bit of wisdom, that prospect of love and understanding, and hysterically the awkward situations which Palmer family can never provide.

If I haven’t been obvious enough the legal aspects implied in the title are mere backdrops in the entire movie. The Judge is a movie about family, about a father and his sons.  The pacing was perfect. There were good moments then came the bad moments.  After each downs more aspects of the family was revealed until finally as families ought to do, they rise and fix themselves until the circle of life is complete.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and no part of the movie will you find Tony Stark. And that is saying something.

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