The Devil's Advocate is a great film.
It is full of depth and intriguing story lines, that are impossible to ignore. Even a strict atheist like myself cannot ignore the themes presented, and most of all I can not ignore the interesting way in which it is presented.
Beginning with Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) as a lawyer living in Florida. A prodigy, a man who has never lost a case, and now after his current case, in which he gets a sadistic paedophile off for rape, he's given the opportunity of a lifetime. To go to New York and work for one of the top law firms in the country, perhaps the world. With his wife Mary-Anne (Charlize Theron) in toe, they travel to New York so that Kevin can see what it would be like.
He loves it. A bustling metropolis full of hard cases, and great rewards. Mary-Anne is also in love with the high lifestyle they are set to lead, and the prospect of being able to bring up a family.
Even Kevin's boss seems too good to be true. The charismatic John Milton (The amazing Al Pacino) a slick, philosophical man of sly charms.
At first, Kevin is given a few small potato cases. And he's quite happy with it. In fact he's enthralled, getting deep into his cases, and creating a strong relationship between himself and his boss.
But all is not plain-sailing and peach blossom. Kevin starts to work more and more, and begins to neglect his new wife, who begins to freak out in her new surroundings, and her new home. Of which she becomes to be convinced is haunted with demons, and such beings...
Poppycock? Not quite. Kevin is assigned a murder case, and after a couple of banters between Milton and himself, it seems that he still isn't willing to drop his work for his wife. He continues on, unaware of just how bad things can get, if you allow yourself to be overcome by your own, selfish desires. Even, Kevin's mother tries to make him see sense, and look after his wife, of whom before she had no liking for.He still doesn't listen...
Kevin finally does win his case, and manages to get the murderer off the hook... but it's gone too far. His wife snaps. She claims that Milton had raped her, and in a particularly tense, distressing scene of confession in a church, in which she uncovers her scarred body. She is taken to a hospital for the insane, to try and regain her rationality. But before that can happen she kills herself. A final shattering blow for Kevin.
And now, he begins to believe things are not as they seem. His mother addresses him about Milton - He is his father... and not who he seems, in the slightest. Enraged, Kevin goes after Milton, even at his mother's plea not to---
"Behold I send you out a sheep amidst the wolves..."
---She cries. He leaves the hospital... The New York streets suddenly deserted, in a surreal shocking moment - (28 Days Later Anyone?)
He gets to Milton's penthouse suite. And the talk begins... Who really is Milton... And what does he want?
Well, I think I've spoiled enough... I won't spoil this. Just take my word for it when I say that the following conversation, is controversial, quotable, and extremely moving. Great dialogue, crisp acting and fantastic direction... An eerie mix of fire-soaked settings and dragon-tongued discourse.
Yet you may ask, why not spoil this bit. I've spoiled everything else. Well, the thing is, the film as a whole, from my conversations about it etc. Seems to be rather underrated. It lacks recognition in some respects, or so I feel. And so why bother advocate more for it when I want you to see it for yourself, and understand why the film is great. It is this ending that is the great thing about this film. Everything that leads to it is almost trivial. Necessary to the plot, and the outrageously good shock at the end, but still trivial. It is this scene that makes me think - why is it underrated?
To be honest, I can't think of a reason -
Some claim Reeves can't act his way out of a paper bag. And that Theron is just too overly weird. And that Pacino hams it up by going over the top...
Well, personally I don't think so. I think each character has their own dimension, and that the overall film - (but especially the ending) - is most exciting.
So I highly recommend this - I advocate for it, and give it it's recognition, before thinking about downgrading this magnificent work for such menial drawbacks---
The film ends. Milton is chuckling... The credits role, to the sound of The Rolling Stones: Paint it Black.
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