Devil’s Advocate: Special Edition

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Al Barnes

Plot: What’s it about?

Usually the Faustian connection is summoned by the mutterings of a man in the throws of desperation, willing to set aside his morality for the lucrative contract he knows has no renegotiation. Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) is unwittingly drawn to the stage, set by the horned one himself (Al Pacino). Lomax, a hotshot southern lawyer is offered the deal of a lifetime and drags his country girl wife Mary Ann (Charlize Theron) to the Big Apple. Blinded by money and power, the shine soon wears off for Mary Ann who falls into a world of depression and nightmarish visions while Kevin rides the fast track to fame and envy of his fellow esquires. Surrounded by beautiful women, sex and his thirst for domination Kevin looses sight of everything except winning freedom for his clients no matter how vile…and guilty they might be. Oh, I forgot to mention that Pacino is the head of the law firm Kevin now works for…his name…John Milton. You know, Paradise Lost…”Tis better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven”…well more on that later. After a series of tragedies Kevin finally figures out who Milton really is and what his (Lomax) destiny will be. Does he put his John Hancock on the dotted line and join Milton in Paradise Found or…remember he’s a lawyer?

I’m a big fan of Mr. Pacino and he lends his special talent to the part of the master tempter but…why did Taylor Hackford (An Officer And A Gentleman) cast Keanu in this part? Reeves is supposed to have a southern accent and has the benefit of a dialect coach…must have held out during training camp. I’ve stated previously that Reeves only fits in to a select few characters and this isn’t one of them. The Lomax character should exude the charisma and focus of a serious “player” in the high stakes drama of power law. Luckily Theron supplies enough real acting for the both of them and not only looks the part of a delusional schizophrenic but makes you believe she’s on the way out.

There is a scene in a huge church during a funeral where images of angels and heaven and all those religious symbols are contrasted by Pacino standing in the rear taking it all in with the “classic” Pacino grin that is exceptionally well done. There is no shortage of good vs. evil ironies that have kept man in a constant battle with his true desires and those “restraints” he should practice according to the various good books…I wonder if Mr. Scorsese had a few bad dreams after this one? It’s obvious that Hollywood is a what have you done for me lately industry full of short term memory loss victims when Keanu gets top billing over Al…I’ll forget more about acting than Keanu will ever remember…Pacino. Luckily for Taylor (director) Pacino proves he can carry a movie on his own despite sharing the spotlight with a cardboard cutout. Even with all that I still liked this release and wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up in my collection…mainly because of Pacino.

Video: How does it look?

Released in the much coveted Anamorphic Widescreen the look and feel of this film is highlighted by some posh sets and real locations like Donald Trumps apartment, penthouse or whatever he calls it. Set against the distinctive New York skyline, the city is the perfect hot bed of the ridiculously rich.

Audio: How does it sound?

Some very noticeable levels of that “shrill” center channel during some of the heated dialogue…I hate that. The rest of the soundtrack is hot and cold but the orchestra/choir music during some of the church scenes is fantastic.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Extensive bios and informative commentaries along with extended scenes are just the beginning. Some interesting history on the “Devil” and his many forms lend an insight to various religious beliefs. I enjoy perusing the large amount of special features on DVD’s like this one.

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