The Devil's Advocate Review

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Top lawyer Kevin is lured to the big city for the job of a lifetime. He brings his wife Mary-Ann and, at first, everything seems perfect. But soon Kevin starts to get suspicious about his boss.


Eschewing the current trend for CGI by the bucketload, director Hackford convinced Pacino to star by steering away from the effects-laden monster movie of original conception to a more classic struggle, with a villain so old school he's practically the headmaster. There's hell to pay for hotshot lawyer Kevin Lomax (Reeves), who's lured by the big bucks/flash pad seduction of a top firm, and ups sticks for NYC with wife Mary-Ann (Theron) in tow. Also into the bargain comes the rather warm mentorship of fiery-eyed boss John Milton (Pacino), but despite obvious pointers (constant furnace motifs, "odd things" happening), Lomax fails to suss that Milton's "firm" extends a lot further than the office block, and traditionally has need for large toasting forks. Such implements, however, are not required when the levers of power, sex and prestige can turn a human soul — the film taps into recognisable, viewer-friendly desires. Likewise, Pacino's Dark Prince is wily, lusty and persuasive, but ultimately quite a subtle version of a scheming Old Nick. That said, he wildly over-acts towards the end, but by this stage it's both appropriate and hugely enjoyable and Reeves is just about up to the job as the straight foil.

High art this may not be, and certainly no Paradise Lost, but fine filmic entertainment it most definitely is.