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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Devil's Advocate

A devilish film with much unrealized potential

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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October 28, 1997 -- "Devil's Advocate" is one of those films that look good as a trailer, but the house of cards soon falls flat when the idea has to be sustained for 90 minutes. It would make a pretty good 5-minute comedy sketch, however.

The casting of Al Pacino as the devilish head of a New York City law firm is about the only thing that went right about this film. Pacino has great fun chewing up the scenery as the Prince of Darkness, aka John Milton (one of many references to Paradise Lost).

Keanu Reeves plays the protagonist, Kevin Lomax, a country lawyer who has never lost a case while his wife, Mary Ann, is played by Charlize Theron ("That Thing You Do!" "2 Days in the Valley") and Reeves' Bible-toting mother is played by Judith Ivey. Lomax is invited to New York to join the law firm, but he eventually realizes that Milton is after much more than his legal talent.

Pacino is good in the climactic scene in which he explains he really likes people better than his opponent, God, because he just wants them to fully develop their talent, for evil, of course. It is a heartfelt speech by Pacino, but in the end, rather empty of meaning.

The end of the film is disappointing, because a rather weak ending is grafted to the first ending of the film. It is quite a copout. Maybe the filmmakers couldn't decide how to end it, so they just added another, entirely superfluous, ending. This film is also not for kids. It has violence, profanity, sexually-explicit scenes and full-frontal nudity. Maybe the devil made them do it. This film rates a D.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1997 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)