Before Robert Downey Jr became a household name through the Marvel superhero flicks, he was a gifted albeit troubled character actor. He still is gifted, and he seems to have left his drug & booze-fuelled troubles behind him. But he also seems to play variations on his Tony Stark role nowadays, which wouldn’t surprise some people who think he’s been playing himself throughout his career anyway. For evidence that the guy CAN sink into a role and be someone else, “The Judge” might be our best post-“Iron Man” evidence yet. Apart from the smarmy lawyer he’s playing here, he’s never come off this “normal” before. Maybe it’s the material, maybe it’s the cast (led by veteran Robert Duvall), or maybe it’s both. The film itself may turn out schmaltzy but I’m curious about this just to see how Downey Jr fares.

Here’s the official synopsis: “From Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures comes “The Judge,” which pairs two-time Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr. (“Chaplin,” “Tropic Thunder”) and Oscar winner Robert Duvall (“Tender Mercies,” “Crazy Heart”), starring together for the first time on the big screen. The film also stars Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air,” “The Conjuring”) and Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton (“Sling Blade,” “Friday Night Lights”), and is directed by David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers”). In “The Judge,” Downey stars as big city lawyer Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge (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.”

“The Judge” also stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, Oscar winner Melissa Leo, Leighton Meester, Ken Howard, Emma Tremblay, Balthazar Getty, David Krumholtz, Sarah Lancaster, Grace Zabriskie, and Denis O’Hare.


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