Devil's Advocate, The
Reviewed by Gord Pratt
Rating: 8 Beans
he title of the movie is a play on words. A devil's advocate is someone who take a contrary position, simply because it is contrary. Also, "advocate" is an English word for lawyer. So, literally, the "devil's lawyer". You see the pun, because this movie is about the devil and he's a lawyer. Unfortunately, this kind of wit is never brought to light in the screenplay itself. Instead, we get a bunch of ridiculous tripe about the relationship between God, Satan, and Humanity. I say tripe because the philosophies on which the movie is based basicly ignore the last 2000 years of non-American history.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, let's talk about the movie. The plot is remniscent of The Firm. In fact, for the first 120 minutes, it is a carbon copy of The Firm. Oh, there's the occassional slightly-suppernatural occurance, but they are too subtle and inconsistant to cause much of a ruffle. Then, it the last minutes of the movie, all is revealed in a very deus ex machina speech by Al Pacino.
Which raises the topic of actors. Keanu Reeves (Johnny Mnemonic) couldn't act his way out of a wet paper bag. He is possibly the most *unwatchable* actor of his generation. Every line is said with cardboard emotion. Keanue Reeves couldn't hold an accent if it had handles. To make matters worse, they put this no-talent lunk on the same frame as Al Pacino (Donny Brasco)! Pacino has forgotten more about the art of acting than Reeves will ever learn.
But in DEVIL'S ADVOCATE, Pacino struggles with a lifeless script and forces what energy he can into it. Watching Pacino play an over-the-top psycho lawyer is almost as much fun as watching Reeves struggle to catch up with him. Caught in the middle is Charlize Theron (2 Days in the Valley) who does an admirable job as Reeves wife.
It is only Pacino's ability that makes this movie slightly watchable, and it is almost entirely Keanu Reeves incompetence that earns it a place in the BMN. Well, that. and the writer's complete ignorance of religious history.
"I'm the hand under Mona Lisa's skirt." - John Milton
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