David Dobkin is well-known for his nutty, ludicrous comedies, like Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus and The Change-Up, but this fall he’ll be delving into more dramatic territory with The Judge, a thriller that follows an attorney (Robert Downey Jr.) who returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral, only to find that his hostile, Alzheimer’s-afflicted father (Robert Duvall), the town’s judge, stands accused of murder.
Our first look at the film (above) finds the main character in the midst of defending his father against the murder charge. The movie is expected to balance dramatic and comedic material, but it’s certainly a much darker subject than Dobkin’s previous efforts. Luckily, he’s working with two supremely talented actors in Downey and Duvall, so chances that The Judge will succeed as a tense legal thriller seem high.
Downry recently talked about the project to Entertainment Weekly, which debuted the image. He spoke about his character, who left town years earlier to get out from under the thumb of his tyrannical father, and the film:
“Against his own instincts and desire, he ends up staying to defend his dad from what may or may not be an intentional vehicular manslaughter case. His father is a pillar of the community. Everybody knows a dad like the judge. Every community has one, and every family has either heard of or been under that kind of patriarchy. It’s this very American story. But it’s also a story about family, and reconciliation, and law, and justice.”
While in town, the attorney winds up clashing with his older brother (Vincent D’Onofrio), who angrily stands by his father’s side in every instance. Though their initial interactions are filled with tension, eventually the attorney begins to reconnect with his family.
The Judge also stars Vera Farmiga, Jeremy Strong, Billy Bob Thornton, Dax Shepard, Melissa Leo, Leighton Meester, Ken Howard, David Krumholtz, Balthazar Getty, and Denis O’Hare. It opens October 10th.
Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge (Robert Duvall), is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.