What do you think of The Devil's Advocate (1997)?

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I kind of liked it, kind of not, and it's a undecided one for me. I knew the twist beforehand, but I feel like it may have been foreshadowed too much, and maybe they should have revealed the twist sooner, cause I think a lot of the audiences would have seen it coming, so might as well have it be an earlier twist, and have it be more surprising, rather than revealing it so late.

I also feel that the movie suffers from having characters, who act so crazy that they cannot say what they mean, so the main character is unable to figure out what is going on, cause the characters fail to get out a proper sentence. The Charlize Theron wife and Mother character do this, and talk in riddles, for the main character to ponder, instead of just giving him a straight answer, which got kind of annoying, but I guess that's all part of wanting to delay the twist further.

I also did not understand the ending. In the end, the main character kills himself, and this somehow time travels him to the beginning of the movie. But why? In terms of Biblical religion, if you kill yourself, your going to hell and there is no redemption after that, if I understand that correctly, and the movie is referencing the Bible all the time. So why does killing himself, causes him to be able to time travel and save the day?

I just didn't understand that, as an ending, unless I missed something. I also feel that the nude scenes may have been forced, to just have nudity as in it didn't really seem to make the story any different if they were not there, maybe?

The movie still though, has a lot of good moments throughout it, and some of the build up, although maybe forced to cause delays, there is also other good build up as well, with some of the other subplots. And I still like the overall premise.

So what do you think?



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I kind of liked it, kind of not, and it's a undecided one for me. I knew the twist beforehand, but I feel like it may have been foreshadowed too much, and maybe they should have revealed the twist sooner, cause I think a lot of the audiences would have seen it coming, so might as well have it be an earlier twist, and have it be more surprising, rather than revealing it so late.
Eh, pretty hard to judge how predictable a twist actually is if you know it already. Unless you mean the thing about Pacino being the Devil? If so, that wasn't really even meant as a twist, it was basically obvious from the trailers at the time. Maybe it was meant to be surprising in the screenplay, but it's one of those things that was basically totally upfront in the actual promotion.

I also did not understand the ending. In the end, the main character kills himself, and this somehow time travels him to the beginning of the movie. But why? In terms of Biblical religion, if you kill yourself, your going to hell and there is no redemption after that, if I understand that correctly, and the movie is referencing the Bible all the time. So why does killing himself, causes him to be able to time travel and save the day?
To be clear, that's not a Biblical claim. That's a claim specific to Catholicism, I believe. It's not universal to Christianity, at least.

In this case the killing isn't done out of despair or rejection of the value of his life, but specifically so that he cannot be used by the Devil. That makes it more like sacrificing yourself, which is why it's presented as noble. I dunno what I think of that, but that's kinda the idea.

It's a weird movie that is never as good as it should be, even though some of the individual elements are really interesting. Pacino's big anti-God speech at the end is really good, in part because it makes a genuine effort to map out what rejecting God might look like even coming from someone who knows God is real. There's some thoughtful stuff in there, even if it's mixed in with some schlock.
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My only problem with it is it's a little too long. If it was cut down by about 30 minutes, it would be perfect.
As is, it's got a 2 hour and 24 minute run time.



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Devil's Advocate offers an attentively constructed atmosphere including rich sets laden with visual icons of vanity, yet an air of melancholy. The moving wall sculpture was particularly a nice touch, though if I recall correctly, an artist sued them for copying his original wall sculpture. I don't recall if he won or not.

It goes without saying Pacino chews up the scenes, but Keanu, Neilson, and Tunie gave decent performances. After Pacino, Theron was the second best scene stealer, imo, portraying a woman spiraling into delirium. I found Keanu's southern accent rather weak though.

It was not received well by professional critics, and while there's no shortage of flaws, in some ways I think it is underrated. The director manages to present this thriller/horror story without relying on cheap jump scares, employed CGI moderately, and Bartkowiak delivers solid cinematography.

Rather than jump scares, the story itself and dialogue is where fear and dread grab the audience. While there were many negative reviews, there were very few reviews that criticized the script and/or dialogue.
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"Lois, I never lie."
Possibly related trivia: there is a Twilight Zone episode called "Printer's Devil" where Burgess Meredith plays the Devil. (This was his fourth appearance on the series!)

He's got some particular mannerisms in the role which seem somewhat similar to Pacino's. Meredith's Devil has a habit of occasionally protruding his tongue to lick his lips, but this may just be because his character smokes thin cigars throughout the episode. (It was said that Meredith had given up smoking in the 40's, but in his role as the Penguin on Batman he turned his cough from the cigarettes his character smoked into the Penguin's squawk!)

Pacino's Devil also did the creepy lip licking and I can't help but notice how similar these mannerisms are. Could Pacino have taken a few cues for his Devil from Meredith?



I liked it, then loved it after Entombed (influential death 'n roll band I worked for for a few years) used it as inspiration for the lyrics of Chief Rebel Angel.

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Eh, pretty hard to judge how predictable a twist actually is if you know it already. Unless you mean the thing about Pacino being the Devil? If so, that wasn't really even meant as a twist, it was basically obvious from the trailers at the time. Maybe it was meant to be surprising in the screenplay, but it's one of those things that was basically totally upfront in the actual promotion.


To be clear, that's not a Biblical claim. That's a claim specific to Catholicism, I believe. It's not universal to Christianity, at least.

In this case the killing isn't done out of despair or rejection of the value of his life, but specifically so that he cannot be used by the Devil. That makes it more like sacrificing yourself, which is why it's presented as noble. I dunno what I think of that, but that's kinda the idea.

It's a weird movie that is never as good as it should be, even though some of the individual elements are really interesting. Pacino's big anti-God speech at the end is really good, in part because it makes a genuine effort to map out what rejecting God might look like even coming from someone who knows God is real. There's some thoughtful stuff in there, even if it's mixed in with some schlock.
Yeah I meant the twist about him being the devil. I feel that this could have been a REAL twist, and maybe it should have been a surprise, but the movie foreshadows it too much and the trailer gives it away. Calling the movie The Devil's Advocate of course doesn't help keep it a surprise either.

That's a good point about killing yourself to not be used by the devil, but I still don't get how doing that, equates to being time traveled back to a particular court case though.

My only problem with it is it's a little too long. If it was cut down by about 30 minutes, it would be perfect.
As is, it's got a 2 hour and 24 minute run time.
I also felt it was a bit long, I feel that there are subplots that perhaps didn't really have an effect on the overall story, such as the black defendant on trial for killing the goat. If you remove that, would it really effect the rest of the movie?

Or the Justice Department investigator, investigating the firm and then being killed. If he wasn't in there, would it have really made a difference, since the main character is already motivated by two strange deaths already to take action?

Devil's Advocate offers an attentively constructed atmosphere including rich sets laden with visual icons of vanity, yet an air of melancholy. The moving wall sculpture was particularly a nice touch, though if I recall correctly, an artist sued them for copying his original wall sculpture. I don't recall if he won or not.

It goes without saying Pacino chews up the scenes, but Keanu, Neilson, and Tunie gave decent performances. After Pacino, Theron was the second best scene stealer, imo, portraying a woman spiraling into delirium. I found Keanu's southern accent rather weak though.

It was not received well by professional critics, and while there's no shortage of flaws, in some ways I think it is underrated. The director manages to present this thriller/horror story without relying on cheap jump scares, employed CGI moderately, and Bartkowiak delivers solid cinematography.

Rather than jump scares, the story itself and dialogue is where fear and dread grab the audience. While there were many negative reviews, there were very few reviews that criticized the script and/or dialogue.
This is what Roger Ebert said as well, that the movie has really good sets and atmosphere, but aside from Al Pacino's character's office set, the rest of the movie I thought looked just like regular ordinary New York, and didn't think it was big on rich other than the one.



Possibly related trivia: there is a Twilight Zone episode called "Printer's Devil" where Burgess Meredith plays the Devil. (This was his fourth appearance on the series!)

He's got some particular mannerisms in the role which seem somewhat similar to Pacino's. Meredith's Devil has a habit of occasionally protruding his tongue to lick his lips, but this may just be because his character smokes thin cigars throughout the episode. (It was said that Meredith had given up smoking in the 40's, but in his role as the Penguin on Batman he turned his cough from the cigarettes his character smoked into the Penguin's squawk!)

Pacino's Devil also did the creepy lip licking and I can't help but notice how similar these mannerisms are. Could Pacino have taken a few cues for his Devil from Meredith?
That's very interesting to know. Thinking about it there are similarities between Meredith and Pacino as actors anyway . Al Pacino does seem very teeth and mouth orientated in that part – I do recall being aware of that.

Also I've just been pleasantly reminded of Patrick Troughton clearing his throat between dialogue so he could remember his lines.



Yeah I meant the twist about him being the devil. I feel that this could have been a REAL twist, and maybe it should have been a surprise, but the movie foreshadows it too much and the trailer gives it away. Calling the movie The Devil's Advocate of course doesn't help keep it a surprise either.
Yeah, as I recall (I'm just old enough to remember the trailers on TV at the time, even), it wasn't hidden even a little. I imagine reading the screenplay it was probably surprising.

That's a good point about killing yourself to not be used by the devil, but I still don't get how doing that, equates to being time traveled back to a particular court case though.
I don't think it's time travel. More that none of that was exactly happening, and he was being tested. But who knows. We're obviously being asked to accept that the devil has a lot of metaphysical power. Probably works better without the little post-suicide twist, for sure.



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"Lois, I never lie."
I don't think it's time travel. More that none of that was exactly happening, and he was being tested. But who knows. We're obviously being asked to accept that the devil has a lot of metaphysical power. Probably works better without the little post-suicide twist, for sure.
Similar to the continuity jumps in the final act of The Last Temptation of Christ where what Jesus thought was happening after he came down off the cross may not have actually been happening, but he was indeed being tested!



Oh okay, so like in The Last Temptation of Christ, Kevin Lomax going to New York to work for the devil was all in his head, and it never happened, and it was just a test then, rather than it actually happening, and him actually time traveling back?



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"Lois, I never lie."
Oh okay, so like in The Last Temptation of Christ, Kevin Lomax going to New York to work for the devil was all in his head, and it never happened, and it was just a test then, rather than it actually happening, and him actually time traveling back?
The mechanics of it is up for interpretation as I think Yoda was suggesting.

The Devil has powers - perhaps he can just make Kevin (or Jesus for that matter) hallucinate a potential future timeline and feel as if they are living it, OR can actually create such a timeline and take them there to experience it, but if they pass the test (don't give into the temptation) they can essentially go back to the pivotal moment where they made a wrong turn down a darker path, allowing them to make a different choice that will take them in a different direction that doesn't involve them being in league with Satan or falling for his temptations.



I don't think there's a clear answer to whether it happened and was reset, or whether it never really happened. Not sure it matters. Only takeaway is that temptations are never finished, and being good is a constant struggle.



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This is what Roger Ebert said as well, that the movie has really good sets and atmosphere, but aside from Al Pacino's character's office set, the rest of the movie I thought looked just like regular ordinary New York, and didn't think it was big on rich other than the one.
I chuckled while reading that. This is why I steer away from doing reviews. Never fails, I discover or someone tells me any thoughts I offered were exhausted in countless reviews before me.