Review: The Judge: To Mock a Killing Bird

TIME

A judge may be deeply suspicious of the defense attorney in his court. One is sworn to dispense justice, the other bent on finding every legal loophole for clients to slip through. Hank (Robert Downey Jr.), a brilliant schemer of a Chicago lawyer, defends the guilty because “Innocent people can’t afford me.” Judge Joseph (Robert Duvall), a veteran judge in rural Indiana, has only contempt for such wily rule-bending. “Imagine a faraway place where your opinion matters,” he tells Hank when the younger man shows up in Joseph’s jurisdiction. “Now go there.”

That Joseph Palmer and Hank Palmer are father and son, and have been estranged for much of their lives, is the first selling point of director David Dobkin’s The Judge, a courtroom drama of antagonistic family values. The second and more pertinent attraction is the pairing of two exemplary actors: Downey, who has holidayed from his early…

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