Robert Downey, Jr.'s Anxiety of Influence in The Judge

October 13, 2014 4:03 PM

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As any Freudian will tell you, father and son relationships are mythically fraught. In Robert Downey, Jr.'s new movie, The Judge, he's a killer New York lawyer with a small town judge father (Robert Duvall) to topple, but there's a twist: he has to defend his father in a murder case. The courtroom tension rests in questions of justice, with a silver-maned and chilly Billy Bob Thornton as a determined prosecutor. At a luncheon at 21 last week, fathers and sons faced off in celebration of this excellent movie that also features a superb supporting cast: Vera Farmiga, Vincent D'Onofrio and Jeremy Strong. Not only were the stars present, but Downey's renowned filmmaker father, Robert Downey, Sr., and Dan Abrams with his father, legendary First Amendment attorney, Floyd Abrams.

Director David Dobkin of Wedding Crashers fame spoke about the subtlety of Robert Downey, Jr. 's work. In one scene, a setback in court, his character Hank Palmer, sits with hands over his eyes. Dobkin questioned whether or not Downey should remove them to show his wrenched expression, but Downey pu...

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