Liam Neeson has worked in over 70 films, and four of those pictures have been with director Jaume Collet-Serra. The pair previously had hits with Unknown, Non-Stop, and Run All Night and now they are riding that streak via the train driven narrative The Commuter.
The Judge, a drama headlined by Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, hits Blu-ray and DVD on January 27 via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
The story centers on Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.), a highly successful defense attorney who returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral. Hank’s reunion with his family is bittersweet due to his estranged relationship with his father (Duvall), who serves as the town’s judge. When his father’s accused of murder, Hank takes on the most important case of his life. Jeremy Strong and Vincent D’Onofrio play Hank’s brothers with Vera Farmiga starring as the lawyer’s former flame.
The Judge Blu-ray Combo Pack Special Features Include:
- Commentary from director David Dobkin
- The featurettes “Inside the Judge” and “Getting Deep with Dax Shepard” (he plays a well intentioned but inexperienced lawyer).
- Deleted Scenes with optional commentary from David Dobkin
***The Standard DVD edition release has the “Getting Deep with Dax Shepard” featurette.
One of The Judge’s strengths lies in Downey Jr.’s innate chemistry with the ensemble cast. Hank Palmer is a lawyer who’s still living with a chip on his shoulder, only to have those edges slowly worn off by letting go of his past.
Since it clocks in at 141 minutes, The Judge thankfully doesn’t skimp on character development, and one wonders what David Dobkin left out of his final cut. Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl, Country Strong) is wonderful as a young girl who flirts with Hank at a local bar, but her character is understandably under developed (there’s a ton of story to tell in The Judge). Maybe Meester, as well as Samantha Powell’s (Vera Farmiga) relationship with Hank, will be given a bit more “screen time” with deleted scenes.
As it stands, The Judge is one of this year’s most underrated films, and it’s great to see Robert Downey Jr. in a dramatic role that has nothing to do with the Marvel Universe.
During The Judge press conference, Robert Downey Jr. talked about the universality of the film and the joys of working with Robert Duvall.
Directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers), The Judge features Robert Downey Jr. as Hank Palmer, a talented and jaded Chicago defense attorney who returns to his Indiana hometown after his mother passes.
Coming back home turns into a completely bittersweet process for Hank, who is more than happy to see his two brothers (Vincent D’Onofrio and Jeremy Strong). Relations with his father (Robert Duvall), however, are absolutely strained, and though they both share a lifelong dedication to the legal profession (Duvall is the judge), the pair refuse to meet each other halfway.
When the judge is accused of killing an ex-convict on his way home, Hank represents his dad in what one assumes is the most important trial of his life.
During The Judge press conference, Robert Downey Jr. talked about the reactions he’s received at various screenings of the movie:
“To me the audience is a cast member in The Judge . . . when people were reading the script or when Warner Bros. called us and said ‘this is special we really want to make it.’ Or as we’ve been having these screenings, people are saying, ‘Look, I know it’s called The Judge – but that’s my mom’ . . . The great thing for me is the dialogue that’s been going on with people who have just seen the movie – and that to me has been the big reward.”
To hear Robert Downey Jr. discuss the universality behind The Judge as well as collaborating with Robert Duvall (he appreciates that Duvall doesn’t use any acting tricks), click on the media bar below:
The Judge, co-starring Vera Farmiga and Leighton Meester, opens October 10.
Opening Friday, The Judge centers on a high powered lawyer (Robert Downey Jr.) who returns to his childhood home after his mother passes away. Reuniting with his family has its share of bitterness, as his strained relationship with his father (Robert Duvall), the town’s resident judge, is seemingly at the point of no return.
Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel) is Samantha, Hank’s (Downey Jr.) ex-girlfriend, an old friend who provides the lawyer with a temporary respite from his familial struggles (Vincent D’Onofrio and Jeremy Strong co-star as Hank’s brothers).
During The Judge press conference, Farmiga elaborated on how Sam provides Hank with a slight semblance of balance:
“I found Sam’s spiritual frequency really alluring in this sweaty Turkish bath of this really unsettled and frenetic (group) of males. She has a serenity to her spirit. Her heart is elastic – she’s like a rubber band until this guy comes and snaps it too hard.”
Click on the media bar below to hear Vera Farmiga discuss the “romantic investigation” behind The Judge: