This film was a family drama masked as a legal procedural, with great, sublimal acting from Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr. being RDJ.
The whole film was too long with too much mis-spent focus on RDJ and the poorly under-utilised and miscast Vera Farmiga. Those scenes really did not serve much purpose other than they attempted to draw parallels between RDJ as a son, and RDJ as a father/husband/partner. Director David Dobkin, and writers Nick Schenk and BIll Dubuque, should have just stuck with the daughter to draw those parallels.
However, the one thing the film got right was the portrayal of titular Judge and the resolution of his case. They did not flinch from the uncomfortable truth nor tried to make him a self-sacrificing hero. No Hollywood, or Law & Order, last-minute coup de grace to save him.
Then, of course, we have the magnificent Duvall who brought such gravitas and humanity to this old man who loved his sons and his job despite the hard exterior shell. As he struggled with keeping his secret and lashing out to hide it, that love still managed to seep through his actions and glances. A definite scene stealer who deserved his recognition from the Awards circuit this year.
The other Robert on the other hand was just so typical. RDJ has gotten lazy as an actor, either that or writers and directors are casting him in roles that scream RDJ. All I see is him (and his persona). He could be Tony Stark or Sherlock Holmes. I kind of miss the RDJ that was Ally McBeal's beau. Now all we get is this arrogant, swaggy playboy in every single of his role. He needs another reinvention if he wants to be taken as a serious actor again.