“Hotshots” looks at a movie!

The Judge - Movie PosterTHE JUDGE is a terrific film about a family and what happens to them in a courtroom during a murder trial.

Robert Downey, Jr., stars as Hank Palmer, a successful attorney in Chicago, and Robert Duvall stars as Joe Palmer, Hank’s father, who has been a judge in a small town in Indiana for 42 years.

Hank has a reputation that is not entirely favorable, and when asked why many of his clients seem to be guilty, he says, “Innocent people can’t afford me.”

Hank and Joe are estranged and barely talk to one another, and the movie begins when Hank returns to his hometown in Indiana to attend his mother’s funeral.

However, while Hank is there, Joe is involved in an automobile accident late at night with a man on a bicycle who is killed.

The evidence seems to indicate that the accident was intentional, and because Joe and the man on the bicycle had a history from a previous trial, the judge is charged with murder.

Joe hires a local attorney to defend him, who is played by Dax Shepard, but because he turns out to be both out of his league and in over his head, Hank reluctantly agrees to help out over the objections of Joe.

However, the story is not all courtroom drama; Vera Farmiga plays Hank’s high-school sweetheart, a single mom with a daughter that Hank might have had something to do with before he left town, and Vincent D’Onofrio and Jeremy Strong play Hank’s brothers, and there is something in their past, too, that enters into the story.

In addition, Hank has a wife and daughter back in Chicago who require some attention during the trial, and Joe has a secret that he is not telling anybody. Hank’s reputation isn’t helping his cause, either, especially when he is known as a bully with a big bag of tricks, and he says that his father is the most brutally difficult client he has ever had.

Now, you might believe from the publicity that the movie consists only of Hank and Joe being at each other’s throats and arguing with each other, but there are also some tender and touching scenes in the movie, as well.

THE JUDGE is a tremendous family courtroom drama that is sure to receive some Academy Award nominations.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”