"The Judge" sees high-priced defence attorney and prodigal son Henry (Robert Downey Jr.) returning from Chicago to the podunk hometown he hates because of his mother's death. He's divorcing his wife and not speaking to his father, the town judge (Robert Duvall), and we learn as the movie progresses that this is his first visit home in more than 20 years. He's about to leave after the funeral when his father is arrested for apparently hitting and killing someone with his car. He stays on to assist with his father's defence.
There's a fine array of acting talent on display: Downey, Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D'Onofrio, Billy Bob Thornton. They make the movie worth watching, but the beats come along like a standard TV family drama: the "revelation" about why he hates his father, the "revelation" about his ex-girlfriend, the "revelation" about why his father did what he did. All played to the same old formula. But with great production values and acting! If you love Downey, this may be worth your time. Duvall's performance felt a bit more templated to his standard "crotchety old man" routine.