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Kill the Messenger

Reporters make fine movie heroes, especially when the plot involves a complicated issue that has been covered up or needs to be explained in depth. The reporter works as an audience surrogate, giving us a human viewpoint for peeling back the layers and adding some charisma and maybe even sex appeal to keep us involved. If this assumes a limited attention span on the part of the audience, well, many fine documentaries never find an audience.

The Judge

There’s a very experienced Buffalo criminal lawyer who likes to say, in response to Hollywood courtroom dramas, “There’s state law, there’s federal law, and there’s Hollywood law.” (Of course, this guy doesn’t approve of Otto Preminger’s tautly effective Anatomy of a Murder, with Jimmy Stewart, but I come not to quibble, so let’s let that go.) This man would probably have a terminal conniption fit if he were to see Robert Downey Jr. in David Dobkin’s The Judge.

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