Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Al Pacino
THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE (1997). Director: Taylor Hackford.

Coming to realize that his accused pedophile client is guilty, Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) proceeds with his defense [as if he had any other choice] and wins him an acquittal. This brings him to the attention of a certain New York City law firm that is less concerned with ethics than it is with winning. Kevin accepts a large fee to participate in a jury selection, then is offered a position with the firm with lots of perks, including a fabulous Manhattan apartment and a huge salary. But his wife, Mary Ann (Charlize Theron of Prometheus), is soon feeling neglected as he spends all of his time preparing for a case, and she is having very disturbing hallucinations as well. Even Kevin wonders if there's something -- strange -- about his boss, the charismatic John Milton (Al Pacino of The Son of No One), who figures in one of Mary Ann's more unpleasant nightmares. As more and more disturbing evidence piles up, will Kevin look the other way, or face the consequences of dealing with the devil... ? The Devil's Advocate is an entertaining and well-acted horror film that is perhaps at times too influenced by films that came before, but it has its moments, even if it's ultimately a kind of silly picture. It might have been better or at least just as interesting without the supernatural overtones.

Verdict: Pacino is always fun to watch. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

William, this is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I own this film and have watched it compulsively at least a hundred times. But you nailed it---it is derivative and borrows heavily from better films, most notably Rosemary's Baby, and at its core is pretty silly. And Pacino knows it...he just camps it up like crazy from the first moment he's on screen. He just has a field day chewing the scenery. Speaking of scenery, Keanu and Charlize are two of the most attractive people to gaze at for two hours in a that's another plus. And the director's dark and menacing view of New York as "the new Hell" is pretty spooky.

William said...

I think you appreciated this film much more than I did, but I have to say it isn't dull and it entertains and Pacino is clearly having a ball!