The Devil's AdvocateOctober 17, 1997
A hotshot lawyer gets more than he bargained for when he learns his new boss is Lucifer himself.
Release Year: 1997
Rating: 7.3/10 (115,696 voted)
Critic's Score: 60/100
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron
Based on a book by Andrew Neiderman, the film centers on a young lawyer who joins a New York firm only to discover that his boss has an increasingly bizarre personality.
Writers: Andrew Neiderman, Jonathan Lemkin
Mary Ann Lomax
Mrs. Alice Lomax
Craig T. Nelson
Mrs. Jackie Heath
Mitch Weaver – Justice Department
Mrs. Diana Barzoon
(as Christopher Bauer)
The newest attorney at the world's most powerful law firm has never lost a case. But he's about to lose his soul.
Release Date: 17 October 1997
Filming Locations: 50th Floor, Continental Tower, Continental Plaza, Wall Street, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $12,170,536
(19 October 1997)
Did You Know?
Lomax and Milton run into Don King at the bout. King was in attendance that night because one of the fighters he promoted at the time, Oba Carr, fought on the undercard of the Roy Jones Jr.–Bryant Brannon bout. Carr lost a 12-round decision to WBA welterweight champion Ike Quartey.
When John Milton is talking to Kevin Lomax outside the courthouse, some of his hair begins to stand up as a result of the wind. In the next shot his hair is perfectly in place.
Go on, Barbara.
We go back to our homeroom for dismissal. Unless you have a pass for sports or somethin'.
And is that what you did on the day in question?
No. Mr. Gettys asked me to stay after class.
Morality According to Lucifer
"Let me give you a little inside information about God…"
Despite the misleading title, "The Devil's Advocate" is a shocking and
inspiring thriller, visually beautiful as well as thought provoking. The
Devil has been portrayed thousands of times throughout the years. Every
Hollywood produces countless movies about Lucifer. Yet, there has not been
single film or book (besides "Rosemary's baby" ) that was good enough to
called interesting. Most of what we see about the subject is either
horror films, that despite of their primitive premiss take themselves too
seriously, or we watch action films of supernatural forces where the Devil
is nothing more than a foul beast. In either case 90% of these movies are
pure cliches – dumb and predictable. When I went out to see "The Devil's
Advocate" I was expecting one of the two "genres" mentioned above. I got
neither. What I saw was a fabulous, intelligent and amazing film, which
engages both heart and mind. The first surprise was the cast, which can
boast of Keanue Reeves, Charlize Therone and, in my opinion, the greatest
actor of all-time Al Pacino. Only the fact that some of the most famous,
not to mention, talented actors of our time agreed to star in this film
immediately draws your attention. Throughout the picture, you start
realizing the unusual complexity of the story and script.
Kevin Lomax (Reeves) is a success in the courtroom and out of it. He's a
young Florida defense attorney who has never lost a case. No matter how
repugnant the crime, no matter how guilty the defendant, Kevin Lomax has
power to mesmerize the jury into accepting his arguments, buying into his
logic, being convinced by his charisma; and freeing his clients. Soon
he has successfully won the case, where he defended an obviously guilty
child molester, Lomax is invited to New York, where a powerful law firm
become aware of the Florida hotshot's acquittal record. Here he meets John
Milton (Al Pacino), the founder and head of "Milton, Chadewick, Waters", a
mysterious and powerful law firm with contacts and clients all over the
world. It is this charismatic and charming man that opens the door to a
completely different world; a world of luxury and pleasure, wealth and
power; a world of endless possibilities. This is heaven on earth. But as
Lomax tastes the power of being a wealthy New York attorney, something in
him changes. Winning is no longer just a goal; it becomes an obsession.
he starts to realize that things are not what they seem to be; and all the
things he once had and cared about -a happy marriage with Mary Ann
Theron), his relationship with his mother, all his happiness – everything
disappear amidst the sparkling illusion of paradise. He suddenly realizes
that Heaven and Hell can coexist..at the same place and at the same
I do not intend to reveal anything else, since all of the interesting
surprises will be presented in the intense and inspiring climax. 'The
Devil's Advocate' is a story about some characteristically American
ambition, drive, materialism. Going after success and its trappings is a
classic American male behavior, and Kevin Lomax shows us what can happen
when that behavior gets out of hand. Winning has become such a core value
our culture that we never stop to consider the consequences of our own
actions. This is a story about a man that has always been a winner and was
rewarded for it with the kind of things that winning brings – wealth and
power. At the end he realizes that winning may not always be the best
but then it is too late. The characters in this film are both complex and
real, partly because of the good writing, partly because of some wonderful
performances by every actor. This is probably Reeves' best performance. He
manages to create a believable character – a kind of example, a role model
for the American way of life. Kevin's wife, Mary Ann is most likely the
hardest character to play, since she goes through a complex and difficult
emotional evolution. From being strong, devoted and ambitious (a female
of her husband) to vulnerable, hurt and on the verge of madness. Charlize
Theron gracefully floats into this character. The most interesting of
performances and characters is John Milton – the essence of Kevin Lomax's
temptation. The invitation by a modern-day Satan to enter a world,
represented by the excess of our most worldly pleasures. Al Pacino is
nothing less than astonishing, an award worthy performance that is as good
as anything seen this year. His power and presence is felt everywhere
throughout the film, even where he is not present. This eerie and
feeling is one of the elements that help creating the movie's intense and
frightening atmosphere. At the same time he provides the most entertaining
moments and colorful quotes. I can't imagine an audience not smiling when
screams out: "I am a humanist!" . And the fact that Milton's law firm is
involved in all the dirty business, from drugs and money laundering to
murder, doesn't prevent the Devil to call himself John Milton, who is the
author of the most brilliant epic about Christianity. This is entertaining
As I have said previously, the major difference from the other films with
diabolical themes, is the complexity of the story. The Devil is not shown
a ugly monster with red eyes. And the purpose of his existence is not to
posses innocent children. One of the many interesting things in this film
the fact that the Devil is never really pulling the strings by himself —
he's giving people their choice, their free will to decide — a demon
world is our own, with all its mundane events. He appears in human form
presents human choices, and his greatest lure is what we have in common
him: our greed, ego, jealousy, competitiveness, lust, dishonesty. Another
thing is that the director is very careful to not let the monster out of
box, so to speak, by using any images that are obvious. Things appear and
disappear in a moment; sometimes they seem real and sometimes they seem
a bad dream, so that when the events in the story actually do emerge into
reality, the Lomaxes don't know what's real and what isn't anymore. The
third element is the fabulous production design, grand art direction and
rich cinematography. These elements help creating a strange and surreal
world – heaven and hell almost floating into each other. Hell is here not
blackness, haunted by ghosts and monsters, but the rarified world of New
York's ultra-wealthy and privileged society.
After a thought provoking finale, I sat amazed by what I have seen. If you
are looking for entertainment, action and ugly monsters, this is not the
right answer for you, but if you are interested in a more serious and
inspiring film experience, this is a spectacular and meaningful movie that
is well worth your money and time.
This is clearly one of the most clever and stunning works of art I've ever
seen, and a pivotal film of the 90's.