Saturday, July 9, 2011

Movie Review: The Devil's Advocate

  Of all the Anti-Christ movies ever done, The Devil's Advocate is one of my favorites.  The problem that most people have with this film is that it stars Keanu Reeves.  Reeves is an actor, like Jack Nicholas, who no matter who he plays is still Keanu Reeves.  However, while Nicholas makes this work for him, Reeves tries to be a good character-actor.  People are either Reeves fans or they are not.  I think Reeves is a fair actor and I have enjoyed most everything he has been in.  The Devil's Advocate is no exception.  Reeves co-stars with Al Pacino, who plays this role with the same panache and zeal that we have come to expect.  Pacino's play of his character is the epitome of the expression of this role in my mind.  When I think of this character, it is Pacino's portrayal that most often defines the character for me.  Charlize Theron plays her role well, as does Connie Nielsen... and they both do a full-frontal nude scene in this film.
Uh-oh...
 Reeves plays Kevin Lomax, a small-time defense attorney who managed to get his client-off of a high-profile child-molestation case, and has never lost a case in his career.  This brings him to the attention of a major corporate law-firm in New York, and he and his wife (Charlize Theron) settle among the power-broking elite for what they think is all their dreams coming true.  John Milton (Al Pacino), the head of the firm, takes a special interest in Lomax, forcing him to prove his talents and question the Bible-Belt morality instilled in him by his mother.  Lomax also finds himself infatuated with Cristabella Andreoli (Connie Nielsen), one of the firm's partners who seemingly represents everything his wife is not.
Church would be a lot better with this in it.
 Lomax's wife begins to struggle with the new situation, including Lomax's long-hours and inattentiveness.  She begins seeing visions of people with demonic faces, and feels that the tenament they have moved into (provided by Milton's firm) is more like a prison than a home... a guilded-cage where she is never entirely safe.  Added to this pressure is Milton's (who resides in the penthouse of the building) blatant womanizing as an enticement to Lomax and the mysterious death of one of the other firm's partners... Lomax's wife seems on the verge of a psychotic-break.
 Lomax is indeed being groomed for something, and as everything in his world seems to be falling apart, Milton reveals the truth of makes Lomax the ultimate offer.

I'll buy that for a dollar!
 The Devil's Advocate is a wonderfully written story that is well-portrayed by all involved.  The cinematography is at times subdued, and others fantastic, used to heighten the mounting tension which builds throughout the film.  Pacino's speech on morality is the true climax of the film, a high-point that on its own is worth watching.  Don't listen to the professional critics about this film, The Devil's Advocate is a must-see film.   

  

 11/29/2012: I just received a note from a cat going by the screen-name "viccarisays".  Vic wants credit for the demon-face pic on this blog, since he took the time to steal the pic himself from the film.  His own blog, which can be found here: http://filmphilosophy.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/the-devils-advocate-1997/, fails to credit the production company, director, actors, writers, filmographers, and other technical crew involved in the production of the images he uses, but that's fine.  Despite the "Fair Use" clause which applies to all the images on this blog, I hereby award Vic 1 Internets for his minor contribution to the blogosphere.  Take a bow, Vic!

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