Judge, Jury, and Executioner- Defend your Honor *Spoiler Alert
I have followed Robert Downey Jr. since his Weird Science and Back to School days. Yes, I know, it was circa 1985-1986 and I am completely dating myself. They were great movies, what can I say?! But this was a little different, because though he was still the cocky, wealthy, womanizing, yet successful thrill seeker, he grew soft and vulnerable. And not in a Pepper is about to get blown up way, but in a “my dad is dying and I lost time” way.
The film is based on a Chicago high powered attorney and his relationship with his father, the judge of their hometown. Hank (played by Robert Downey Jr.) has to come back home to bury his mother, who just recently passed. There is tension when he sees his dad, the judge (played by Robert Duvall). As Hank tries to leave town as soon as the funeral is over, Joseph is accused of murder and that is where Hank feels the need to save the father he lost so long ago.
I connected with main both characters in the film. With Hank, the connection came from the level that he is completely immersed in his career. He wants to be a good dad to his daughter, but struggles finding the balance. And even after the losses he endured…his attitude is as if it’s business as usual.
Now with the Joseph, there was a scene where they were in the basement during a tornado warning and they were watching old films and some old footage of a car wreck that Hank was involved in. Obviously, still an open wound that hasn’t been cared for. The car wreck left Hank’s brother Glen (played by Vincent D’Onofrio) hurt so bad he lost his potential baseball career. Joseph goes off about shutting off the film and becomes enraged. At that point, Hank points out that Joseph can’t control everything. That life doesn’t happen when he says it happens. And that hit home. In the movie, Hank, being the town judge, demands honor and legacy, but soon comes to terms that he needs to let his guard down and allow Hank to make up for lost time and regrets by fighting for him .By the end of the film, they come to terms with each other as Hank fights for his dad’s life and love to the very end.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Not obsessed with it, but definitely want the outcome to look perfect, no matter the cost or struggle in the background scene. It opened my eyes to the struggle and pain my actions can bring. What I take away from this film is I can’t control everything. I can only control my 3 foot world. Outside of my reach is outside of my control.