Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall open the festival with The Judge

Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall open the festival with The Judge

(Image: Kayla Rocca) (Image: Kayla Rocca)
 

Stargazers got their first taste of TIFF 2014’s celebrity megatonnage at the opening-gala presentation for The Judge Thursday night at Roy Thomson Hall. The David Dobkin dramedy is about a hotshot lawyer, played by Robert Downey Jr., who returns to his tiny hometown for his mother’s funeral, only to get entangled in defending his father, a local judge, against hit-and-run murder charges. Downey and his wife and co-producer Susan Downey (their newly founded company, Team Downey, produced the film) elicited the biggest cheers, as RDJ walked the barricades signing nearly every likeness of Iron Man or Sherlock Holmes foisted at him. Cinema’s elder statesman, Robert Duvall, quietly walked the carpet, while Vera Farmiga and Dax Shepard, accompanied by wife Kristen Bell, beelined into the theatre. Vincent D’Onofrio, with his freshly shaved melon and smart navy window-pane suit, looked a bit like his Leonard “Gomer Pyle” Lawrence from Full Metal Jacket—if the character had ended up in middle management at a bank, rather than slumped against a latrine wall.