The Judge ****
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D'Onofrio Director: David Dobkin 15A
High-flying lawyer Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr) returns home to Carleyville, Indiana to attend his mother's funeral. At the wake, old tensions re-ignite between Hank and his father, Joe (Robert Duvall). Joe is the district judge, a fascinating mixture of high, preening principle and cussed stubbornness, in Duvall's masterful portrayal.
Wayward as a kid, Hank disappointed the old man and left years ago, shaking the dust of Carleyville behind him. Yet he would come first in his class in Law, as he reminds his father in the middle of another blistering, stand-up row. The explosive relationship between father and son is handled with tremendous power and skill by both actors.
Meanwhile, Hank's brother Glen (Jeremy Strong) was once a baseball ace whose career was effectively ruined in a car accident when Hank was driving. Dale is the childlike youngest brother, who spends his time making home movies. That's a neat way of showing us flashbacks to happier childhood days, to an often moving soundtrack, characterised by Bon Iver's high lonesome, layered chorale.
So, yes, this is definitely a tearjerker........
The Overnighters (Club) *****
Starring: Pastor Jay Reinke Director: Jesse Moss Club
Documentary The Overnighters is absorbing in its depiction of lives under stress in the godforsaken oil town of Williston, in the Bakken Shale region of Western North Dakota. God has indeed forsaken the place, it seems, despite the best efforts of Pastor Jay Reinke, and there is no love lost between the locals and the unemployed who are arriving in their droves. Nor, indeed, is there much love lost between Pastor Jay Reinke and the city council.
Pastor Reinke is, however, a well-intentioned man in the extreme, who just wants to love everybody. His utopian ideal fades ignominiously, however.
Everybody is stressed, beginning principally with the 1,000 people - mostly men from other states in search of work - who will sleep in Pastor Reinke's Concordia Lutheran Church over a two-year period.....