Too old for Hamlet and too young for Lear--what's an ambitious actor to do? Play the Devil, of course. Jack Nicholson did it in The Witches of Eastwick; Robert De Niro did it in Angel Heart (as Louis Cyphre--get it?). In T... more »he Devil's Advocate Al Pacino takes his turn as the great Satan, and clearly relishes his chance to raise hell. He's a New York lawyer, of course, by the name of John Milton, who recruits a hotshot young Florida attorney (Keanu Reeves) to his firm and seduces him with tempting offers of power, sex, and money. Think of the story as a twist on John Grisham's The Firm, with the corporate evil made even more explicit. Reeves is wooden, and therefore doesn't seem to have much of a soul to lose, but he's really just our excuse to meet the devil. Pacino's the main attraction, gleefully showing off his--and the Antichrist's--chops at perpetrating menace and mayhem. The film was directed by Taylor Hackford (Against All Odds, Dolores Claiborne). --Jim Emerson« less
D. Roberts | Battle Creek, Michigan United States | 02/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is an old saying that in a court-of-law it is irrelevant what the truth is. What DOES matter is the calibre of the lawyers that reside on both sides of the judiciary fence. This movie takes that dictum and pushes it to the edge of the envelope.
One of the most intriguing facets of the storyline is an implicit question that the film compels us to ask ourselves: Who is worse off? A prosecutor who is so good that he gets an innocent man executed or put away for life? Or a defense lawyer who is so good that he gets a guilty man off the hook, after which time he hurts or kills someone else? It is a question that must enter the minds of all who exercise the art of legalistic oratory at some point or other.
Al Pacino is without question the highlight of the flick. It is obvious that he takes great delight in playing the devil himself, and it shows in his performance. It is a role that is ideally suited to his demeanor. A nice touch was making his name John Milton, which is an allusion to the English poet who authored PARADISE LOST. This is the poem that detailed Satan's fall from heaven as well as Adam & Eve's fall from the Garden of Eden. As a sidenote, I would HIGHLY recommend PARADISE LOST; there are a couple of references to the work itself during the story.
It was rather painful to see Keanu Reeves occasionally try to fake a southern accent, but this was not his worst performance. There is a surprising amount of nudity in the film, and that's always a good thing. This is ESPECIALLY true in any film which features Charlize Theron!
All in all this is a fun film to pick up, especially if you're into the Faustian man-selling-his-soul-to-Satan genre. While the ending is a bit deus ex machina, the balance of the DVD makes up for the weak finale."
Keanu's Big Surprise
Hespeler | Pennsylvania | 03/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here comes a sharp, strong-voiced New York city lawyer with a lot of experience complemented by rare physical and mental powers. Played by Al Pacino, John Milton is a loner who wins cases by ignoring what is and isn't "by the book". While in the process of establishing a law partner, Milton runs across hot shot Keanu Reeves, who is yet to lose. Reeves turns out to become the perfect missing piece to the puzzle for Pacino. His character spends a significant amount of time with his new law partner in business and pleasure circumstances, in order to indirectly let his new friend know him better, to find out who he really is. As time passes, tension between the two businessmen arises and Keanu, the perfect defender/convicter sees his life unfold to become a total nightmare. "The Devils Advocate" has been compared to "The Firm", but "The Firm" is more drawn out and isn't in with the fantasy or horror genre. Al Pacino really shows his stuff in this, with a more than believable performance that features numerous profound monologues that are always mastered by this Italian legend. His costar, Keanu, hits the target for the first time, bringing genuine emotion and class to the table. Overall, "The Devil's Advocate" is very intriguing, extremely well acted with some impressive special effects. I found this movie to be one of the best of the 90s."
STYLISH AND UNNERVING, BARRING SOME LABORIOUS SCENES..
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 05/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While I felt that the film could have been more crisply edited, it builds such unrelenting a crescendo that you'll be willing to indulge several minor scenes take forever to get to their point. How common is it for a film climax to sport a 15-minute scene of dialogue so provocative that the accompanying special effects can almost be ignored!Keanu Reeves, who's usually a staid one-expression wonder fit for movies like Speed and Matrix, pitches in quite a remarkably absorbing performance here. Which was a pleasant surprise! Pacino needless to say is stellar as usual in his macabre role as Satan. But the cake goes to Charlize Theron who fits the wife's character like a glove (a role that is never really clearly defined) and fills in some pretty yawning gaps, creating a gradual descent into madness which actually seems realistic enough to be taken seriously. With slightly more crisp editing, the movie could have easily been the powerhouse it screams that it should have been, but it is still a very decent rental that'll hold for a couple of viewings!"
The devil and all to pay
JLind555 | 11/09/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Devil's Advocate is one of those movies that sneak up on you, grab you and won't let go. The story is simple enough; a young fireball of a lawyer, Kevin Lomax, played by Keanu Reeves, who has never lost a case, finds himself in the middle of every defense attorney's nightmare, representing a slimy sleazeball accused of molesting little girls. Halfway through the trial he realizes his client is guilty as hell, which presents him with a dilemma: he can extend his winning streak at the price of losing his soul; or he can do the right thing at the possible risk of torpedoing his career. What's a young, up and coming hotshot to do? In no time at all, he and his beautiful, fatally naive wife (excellently played by Charlize Theron) are off to New York, where he has been recruited to work for a high-powered law firm headed by a omnilingual, diabolically clever lawyer named John Milton (Al Pacino looks like he had the time of his life in this role) and staffed by a bunch of hell-bound associates. While Kevin's career takes off, his wife descends into a miasma of loneliness, despair and finally madness; and when Kevin berates Milton for driving his wife into her personal hell, Milton reminds Kevin that God, whom Milton fears as much as he hates, gave us all a left-handed gift called free will; we are free to make our own choices, and we have to live with the consequences. As the feller says, you can't win 'em all. The film runs somewhat overlong but holds our interest throughout. There are many good performances in this movie and a few excellent ones, but when all is said and done, the film belongs to Al Pacino and his gleefully wicked portrayal of the devil incarnate. Kevin is finally left to make his own choice, which I'm not going to give away here; suffice to say that the film's resolution is a shock. Maybe you can't win 'em all, but director Taylor Hackford clearly came up a winner with this movie."
"I've nutured man, despite all his imperfections, I'M A FAN
Mike | Long Island, NY | 04/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fantastic movie. Al Pacino doesn't get the credit he deserves. He was amazing as Satan. Keanu Reeves was good and Charlize Theron is gorgeous. "