Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Judge

I recently watched the movie The Judge.  Despite the fact that this movie had gotten mixed reviews, I was looking forward to it and wanted to give it a shot.  Let me say, I  really enjoyed this move.  Well, "enjoy" probably isn't the most accurate word. Hard to enjoy some of the topics that were covered.  I laughed, I was moved to tears on 4 occasions, and I loved the dynamics between the characters.  It is a somewhat "dark-ish" plot, but really a movie that left an impact on me. The movie made money but not a whole lot. I think people really missed the boat on this one. For me, it was a very, very, powerful movie.

I will try to avoid spoilers so that you can continue to read in peace.  Robert Downey Jr. plays a hot shot lawyer who lives in Chicago.  Many of the cast of The Avengers, minus Sam Jackson, are having a difficult time breaking away from the super hero type cast. (Might want to watch Snowpiercer.  Chris Evans is really good in an underrated movie)  I know that Downey is trying very hard to occasionally do something other than Sherlock or Ironman.  This was a big movie for him to able to show that he can do just that.  However, he is basically Tony Stark in the courtroom.  I expected any minute for his red and gold suit to come flying in.  On the surface, this role was very similar to his greatest role, Iron Man.  That's okay though, because I think his casting/portrayal of Tony Stark/Ironman is one of the best roles in the last 15 years.  Iron Man has turned him into the highest paid actor in America even in a year when he doesn't make a movie.  Think about how crazy that sounds, because it is 100% true.  Anyway, you find out very soon that there is more depth to this character than perhaps Tony Stark.

He is called home because of a family situation that needs his attention.  He expects his trip to be a short one, it ends up not being so short.  This is where you meet his father, played by Robert Duval.  Robert Duval is one of the best living actors.  He doesn't disappoint in this movie either.  He plays a rigid, black and white, old, crusty, dude.  Not all that of a stretch from many of his other roles.  Just like RD Jr. in this movie.  The back and forth between he and RD Jr. was absolutely fantastic.  One of the best on screen duos and duels I've seen in a while. Seriously.

I don't know much about the lawyer aspects in the film, so I cannot comment much on that part.  While Dad is a lawyer, he wasn't a trial lawyer. The rest of it, I thought was great (I had no problem with lawyer parts for the record).

I am fortunate to know what its like to have a fantastic father.  So the good parts of Duval's parenting, I totally could relate to.   More specifically, I am fortunate to have a father who has always had only one sweetheart in Mom.  This is a theme in the movie. I know what its like for my kids to have fantastic grandparents.  I know a little bit about the struggles of working the way you want to and being the father you want to.  This is a theme.  I know what its like to have a big brother that was the better one of the children.  This is a theme in the movie.  One place where I couldn't relate to the movie, is I am grateful that I didn't have to worry about obtaining my father's approval.  Well I constantly worry about this.  So to that end, I was captivated by the scene in the kitchen. Thankfully, my father tells me when he is proud of me and that he loves me.  This happens almost daily. So that void that RD Jr. has in the movie, I do not have.  Thank you for that, Dad.  The theme that I found most compelling throughout the movie is the theme on a man's legacy. This is something all men care about.  From U S Grant to Ronald Reagan.  How will we be remembered?  What will people say when they talk about us after we die? More importantly, what are we willing to do to build our legacy?  What are we willing to compromise in order to keep it?

In the end, this movie is about home.  Not just in the bricks and mortar sense, too.  Where you are from, who is there, who is buried there,  your last name.  All that defines you, all that you call home.  Like RD Jr. I find myself in Chicago because of work.  Like RD Jr. discovers in the end, not only do you have to do your last name proud, you have to be proud of your last name.  It is all you got.

1 comment:

  1. We really liked this movie, too. Any your analysis of it is right on point. I knew you would like it. It is something all sons should watch. I think one of the reasons you boys turned out so well is because your father always makes a point of telling you how much he cares and how much he loves you and how proud he is. One of the things I love about him. And, one of the things I love about you, because you are the same.