10 years after its release, a forgotten Robert Downey Jr. movie is climbing the Netflix charts

The Judge, a 10-year-old legal drama starring Robert Downey Jr., is racing up the Netflix charts since it arrived on the US version of the streamer last week.

The movie has been viewed more than 5.3 million times and it’s currently the third most popular movie on Netflix, behind Shrek and Jerry Seinfeld’s Pop-Tart comedy Unfrosted.

Downey Jr. stars as Chicago lawyer Hank Palmer who returns to his hometown after his mother’s death. While he’s there, his estranged father (Robert Duvall), who’s also the town’s judge, is suspected of murder, and Hank sets out to discover the truth. The film’s cast also includes Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Vera Farmiga, and Billy Bob Thornton.

The movie was directed by David Dobkin, in a somewhat surprising career move. The filmmaker’s other works include Wedding Crashers, the 2005 comedy starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, and Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, Netflix’s 2020 comedy in which Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams play Iceland’s representatives at the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Judge was divisive when it was released back in 2014 – although Duvall received an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination for his performance, the movie only holds a critics’ score of 49% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the Total Film verdict being “manipulative middlebrow awards bait without the substance to land any prizes.”

The Observer accused the film of “sentimental silliness and courtroom cliches”, while Rolling Stone said it was an “overstuffed, overlong slog”. However, critics seem to agree on the strength of the acting, with Time Out praising Downey Jr.’s “charismatic performance” and The Hollywood Reporter noting that “even when the circumstances seem contrived, the actors mine moments of truth that resonate with raw emotion.”

The Judge is streaming now on Netflix US. For more, check out our picks of the other best Netflix movies to fill out your watch list.

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