Wird Robert Downey Jr.s Hank am Ende von The Judge zum Richter? – Erklärt

The fraught relationship of a man with his father becomes the central conflict of ‘The Judge’ (2014) starring Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall. The story focuses on Downey’s Hank Palmer, who lives in Chicago and works as a criminal defense attorney who has made a reputation for winning a case by any means. It is this reputation that he takes back to his hometown, Carlinville, following his mother’s death and clashes with his father, who has long served as the judge at the local courthouse. As the details of the conflict between the father and son come to light, it opens the door to the evolution of both characters, who go through a commendable arc by the end. This is especially true for Hank, who finds himself at a defining moment of his life. SPOILERS AHEAD

The Final Scene Signifies Hank Honouring His Father’s Legacy

The Judge

After all the differences with his father have been settled and all has been said and done, the film ends with Hank and his family grieving for his father, who died while fishing, succumbing to cancer that had been ailing him for more than a year. By this time, Hank and his father’s relationship has gone through a significant change, with him realizing that he had more similarities with the old man than differences.

Following the funeral, he goes to the courthouse, to pay respect to the place his father had worked at for so long. He gives the chair a turn, and it stops, facing him.

For Hank’s father, Joseph, aka Judge, legacy mattered more than anything. He had given his whole life to the law and tried to make his community better. He was known for his strict adherence to all things right and lawful, and over the years, he had sent many people to prison, but he had also shown leniency, which changed lives on a much greater scale.

It was his work, his reputation, that he wanted to leave untarnished, especially now that he found himself at the final mile of his life. But work is not the only legacy people leave behind.

Judge had big dreams for his children when they were younger. His eldest, Glen, showed great potential for baseball and could have had a career in MLB, but one accident changed everything, and Judge blamed Hank for it. Hank had been a bit out of control, a rebel without a cause who didn’t care for consequences. To set him on the right path, Judge took strict action, which he later tried to make up for in a manner that turned into a completely different direction.

Still, as Hank grew distant from him, he turned out rather well, driven by the desire to have his father’s approval, which he never got, until his father killed an ex-convict and a whole new series of events unfolded.

In defending his father, Hank sees a different side of Judge and discovers the reason for his harshness that was, in his own way, a form of love. While he sulked about his father’s harshness towards him, he didn’t realize how Judge was trying to nudge him in the right direction, though he could have expressed his love in much better ways.

More importantly, Hank also sees the love and respect his father had earned over the years, and it is after representing him and seeing him confess, despite the legal counsel to do otherwise, that he learns the true meaning of legacy.

Hank sees what his father stood for, what the truth meant for him, and what his position as a judge meant for him. He feels more connected to his father now that he understands him better, and it is this understanding that pushes him to consider a career shift. He decides to step into his father’s shoes and become a judge. It was as if he was looking for a sign to confirm that he was making the right move that he spins the chair. When it stops facing him, it becomes an invitation to sit in his father’s chair and to continue his work and honor his legacy.

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