The biggest complaint that I heard with this film is that it’s full of cliches. I have to disagree somewhat. Yeah, sure, I know that it’s the typical father-son drama where the dad never had time for his son and all that cat’s in the cradle stuff. But when it comes down to it, this film goes far beyond the typical courtroom drama. It’s full of surprises and twists that are slowly and carefully exposed along the course of the narrative. The first act takes its time, but never drags. It doesn’t rush to reveal the plot all at once, saving things for later and not spoiling us with all the details right away. But then it gets really interesting when you don’t see it coming.
While I’m praising it, the acting and writing were phenomenal. Robert Downey Jr. commands your attention with his presence on screen, and his troubles with his father and his family are believable. It’s also really funny at the right times without ever becoming irreverent to the point at hand.
It’s well-paced and deceivingly flawless. You’re never able to predict the outcome. It remains mysterious enough to not make it predictable. Is it wrong that this movie gives us what we want? What we need? It makes points but never hands us our opinions on the characters. And it never tells us whose side to pick. Sure, it may be cliched at parts, but it’s thoroughly enjoyable and leaves us feeling something a lot rarer than what we’ve been getting at the movies lately–which means, by definition, that it is in fact the opposite of cliche.