The Devil’s Advocate

G

The Devil’s Advocate, at almost two-and-a-half hours may not grab your attention during its first half, but it turns out to be a morally complex, undeniably worthwhile portrait of evil.

The first half of this movie is long, somewhat dull and needlessly graphic. The problem is, that it was revealed in the trailers that yes, the mysterious boss John Milton (Al Pacino, who is having lots of fun) is indeed Beezlebub. If we weren’t told this, it woujld have left us wondering, and thus, intrigued as Milton becomes increasingly suspicious. But for the first hour or so, there really isn’t anything to catch our interest. Sure, many things at the firm of Milton, Chadwick and Waters is fishy, to say the least, but we know exactly why!

Of course, if you haven’t seen the movie, you should be very confused by now, so let me give you some non-crucial plot details. Kevin Lomax (the unconvincing Keanu Reeves), a hot-shot young attorney, had 64 straight convictions as a prosecutor before becoming a defense attorney, where he wins every case too. So a prestigious Manhattan firm by the name of Milton, Chadwick and Waters wants Lomax to come work for them, all expenses paid, including aFifth Ave. penthouse for free. Lomax’s wife (portrayed magnificently by Charlize Theron)says go for it, while his deeply religious mother warns him not to go. Well, he does go, and at first, his wife loves it. But then she starts seeing things. Shape-shifting, demonic things. And this is where the movie becomes diabolically entertaining. I will say no more about the plot. Believe me, however, I did not reveal any big surprises.

Despite its dull first hour, The Devil’s Advocate becomes an OK, recommendable film. It never goes overboard with the demons. The movie also does the right thing by keeping the demons subtle until the all-stops-out climax, when Al Pacino heads one of the year’s best written scenes.

Even though the film waits too long to bring out the goods, its goods are indeed very good. Charlize Theron deserves an Oscar Nomination.

-- Eugene Novikov

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