Stark con­trast for Downey Jr?

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ON TAGE -

“You can’t repli­cate the felling of com­ing out each night and ev­ery night be­ing dif­fer­ent. I can learn from the older ac­tors but we all learn from each other.”

I am al­ready sold on the show, and can­not wait to see it – which I tell Vic­to­ria.

But for those not yet con­vinced I set her the task of win­ning them over.

What would she say to those who are un­sure? “Ooh that’s a good ques­tion,” she says stalling. “I want them to come be­cause they want to be there.

“To come and be part of a story that is what it is. For me when I sit at the side watch­ing it it doesn’t feel as if I’m re­moved. I want peo­ple to come and ex­pe­ri­ence that.”

To Kill a Mock­ing­bird is on at the Wy­combe Swan from Mon­day, Novem­ber 3 to Satur­day, Novem­ber 8 at 7.30pm and Wed­nes­day and Satur­day at 2.30pm.

Tick­ets £19.50 to £31. For de­tails call 01494 512000 or go to www. wycombeswan.co.uk

15 Robert Robert Downey Jr, Robert Du­vall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Billy Bob Thorn­ton, Dax Shep­ard, Leighton Meester, Ken Howard, Emma Trem­blay, Sarah Lan­caster

THE law is an ass and the peo­ple who ad­min­is­ter it are big­ger asses in David Dobkin’s court­room drama about an es­tranged fam­ily re­united un­der the test­ing con­di­tions of a mur­der trial.

The Judge takes its sweet time go­ing through the le­gal mo­tions, graft­ing on a su­per­flu­ous ro­man­tic sub­plot to the rev­e­la­tions in the dock.

Thank­fully, lead ac­tors Robert Downey Jr and Robert Du­vall sink their teeth into their broadly sketched char­ac­ters and en­er­gise the dys­func­tional fa­ther-son re­la­tion­ship that pro­vides the film with its con­flict and heart-tug­ging emo­tion.

Both men rel­ish the ver­bal spar­ring, gal­va­nized by screen chem­istry that con­vinces us they are chips from the same un­mov­able block.

The lead role of a smarmy big city lawyer, who proudly pro­claims ‘in­no­cent peo­ple can’t af­ford me’, is a snug fit for Downey Jr.

Like Tony Stark in the Iron Man films, this slick op­er­a­tor has ar­ro­gance and wise-cracks to spare, yet be­neath the im­pec­ca­bly tai­lored suits and de­signer shades, there beats the frag­ile heart of a man ter­ri­fied of los­ing the peo­ple he loves.

As the lead pros­e­cu­tor of the mur­der trial sagely ob­serves, “You’re a bully with a big bag of tricks.”

The le­gal ea­gle in ques­tion is Hank Palmer (Downey Jr), who helps his wealthy clients to es­cape the State of Illi­nois’ pros­e­cu­to­rial clutches.

Dur­ing one trial, Hank learns that his mother has passed away.

He ven­tures back to his home­town, which he aban­doned 20 years ago, and ten­ta­tively re­builds bridges with his two brothers, Glen (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Dale (Jeremy Strong), and fa­ther Joseph (Robert Du­vall), who has been the com­mu­nity’s ven­er­a­ble judge for 42 years.

His mood bright­ens when he learns that old flame Sa­man­tha (Vera Farmiga) owns the lo­cal bar.

As Hank pre­pares to fly back to Chicago, Joseph is ar­rested for killing a scoundrel who passed through his court. Spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor Dwight Dick­ham (Billy Bob Thorn­ton) is drafted in to se­cure a con­vic­tion and Joseph chooses lo­cal de­fender CP Kennedy (Dax Shep­ard) rather than his son to rep­re­sent him.

“Your hon­our, I’m go­ing to fight like a bad­ger for you,” pledges Kennedy, whose in­ex­pe­ri­ence in front of pre­sid­ing Judge War­ren (Ken Howard) con­vinces Hank that he needs to take charge of the case.

The Judge plays out the grad­ual role re­ver­sal of par­ents and chil­dren as care­givers in the rarefied sur­round­ings of a wood-pan­elled court­room.

Downey Jr and Du­vall are both ex­cel­lent and D’Onofrio and Strong of­fer ster­ling support as sib­lings in cri­sis.

Un­for­tu­nately, Farmiga is short-changed as the to­ken love in­ter­est, who gives Hank a flimsy rea­son to stay in town.

Nick Schenk and Bill Dubuque’s script doesn’t con­ceal any nar­ra­tive aces up its sleeve but does play fair, me­thod­i­cally re­solv­ing is­sues within the Palmer fam­ily as the court case reaches a suit­ably tense res­o­lu­tion.

Robert Downey Jr and Robert Du­vall are son and fa­ther in The Judge

Harry Ben­nett as Jem, Con­nie Walker as Stephanie Craw­ford, Leo Heller as Dill and Jemima Ben­nett as Scout Cer­tifi­cate Stars

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