Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Just a Quickie Please: The Judge

David Dobkin, the director of such cinematic achievements as The Wedding Crashers and Fred Claus, tries his hand at serious, intense, well-scripted drama.  And if you were expecting the same results as I was, you will be pleasantly disappointed.   This is a flawless production delivering top shelf performances in a story that finds that rare cogent and fluent balance between humane comedy and authentic, engaging, sometimes heartbreaking tension.  We forget Downey Jr. is more than Tony Stark.  That he truly is a classic and sincere thespian who brings dimension and breadth to each character he portrays so seemingly effortlessly.  In many ways, he is the modern incarnation of a wondrous hybrid of Stewart and Grant.  Duvall is superb as the curmudgeon judge and harsh, unapologetic father.  The remaining cast is genuine, playing off of each other with a credible ease.   A tale of family, forgiveness, and facing regret that hits all of its marks as succinctly as Hawkeye's bow (you gotta give me that one).   Even the most stoic, stone cold stalwart will have to fight back the tears by credits roll.   5 out of 5 Kernels: lesson learned, never judge a director by his prior works because you never know when he or she will find and channel their inner Capra.

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