This film shows it is never too late to be there for your family.
This film is one that I can relate to in many ways. Growing up I had a tough relationship with my dad. It seemed no matter what I did it was never good enough, so after a while I stopped trying. You can try your best to make them proud, but the truth is it may not make much of a difference to him. This is something that Robert Downey Jr.’s character understands completely. It is a film that may be tough to watch, and may open old wounds for some men. But you should go and see it, the message is a great one and you are sure to learn from it.
In this film Downey plays Hank Palmer, a big time lawyer in the city. He is very successful in his job, but his life is not perfect. He is a man who will bend the rules to win a case and he is lacking in morals. But one day his life gets turned upside down when he finds out his mom has died. He makes the tough decision to head back to his old hometown in Carlinville, Indiana. It is the first time he has been there in a long time, and he is not looking forward to it. Not only does it mean he will have to see people he walked away from, but he will also have to see his father. This is a man who he has not had a real conversation with in many years, and no matter what Hank tries to do they just cannot seem to get along. At the funeral, his dad refuses to make eye contact with him, and he is in no rush to speak to him. When Hank gets ready to put his stuff in his old room, he finds out it is full of a bunch of junk to the extent that he cannot even sleep on the bed. Hank is not only sure that his dad doesn’t like him, but that he is a cold hearted man who he will never be proud of him.
After a certain altercation between Hank and his dad, he decides to get on a plane and go back home. As the plane is about to take off, his brother calls him and says he has to come back. At first he refuses but after he hears why he changes his mind. His dad Joe Palmer is in the sheriff’s office for questioning about an incident that happened the night before. Supposedly his dad killed someone with his car. Even with how much he hates his dad, this is something that he just cannot believe to be true. The case goes for a preliminary hearing, and to his shock it is decided that it is going to trial. The prosecuting lawyer named Dwight Dickham wants to make sure his dad gets what he deserves for this crime. Hank decides then and there that he will defend his dad, because the last thing he wants to see happen is have him go to jail. It is apparent to Hank that the family will be unable to survive without him, and it is the right thing for him to do. Can he help his dad win the case? Who did his dad kill, and was it an accident? And could this act help repair the relationship with Hank and his dad?
Robert Downey Jr. does a good job as Hank Palmer. The way this character grows and develops throughout the film is a blast to see. He may seem like a selfish person, but if you give him a chance he may surprise you. Robert Duvall is wonderful as Joe Palmer. He is a simple man, but someone who has many secrets. He is very beloved in this town, and does his best to make a difference in it. His character really helps move the film along, and it is hard to imagine the movie without him. Billy Bob Thornton is great as Dwight Dickham, the lawyer who is trying to prove Hank’s dad is guilty. He is cold, uncaring and can be very cruel sometimes. This man is the perfect villain for this film, someone you will not want to root for, a person who is easy to hate.
The movie not only has a good cast, but the soundtrack is brilliant. Each song fits the scene perfectly. The songs are original and not something you have heard a hundred times before. I also liked how the film flowed; it never dragged on or got too full of drama or comedy. There is a perfect balance of both, and that made it a lot of fun for me to watch.
The movie could have done better this weekend. It got the #5 spot and made $13.3 million. I am kind of shocked; I really liked this film, and thought it would have done better. People gave it good reviews, but critics were a tad harsh on what they thought of it. I hope it does better in the coming weeks.
If you are a fan of Robert Downey Jr, you should go watch this film. If you want to see a film with some real life lessons in it, this is the film for you. It really is a film all about the importance of not just family, but how important it is to have a good relationship with your dad. No matter how old you get, you can still learn lessons from him. Go see this film with your dad; it will be a good bonding experience. One day he will thank you for it.