The Devil's Advocate (1997) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is really a wonderful bit of escapist filmmaking. The performers are sterling, the direction is concise, the photography is lush, the story is deliciously campy, there are plenty of gorgeous naked women, and there are two great twist endings, one after another, neither of which I expected.
The premise is simple. Keanu Reeves plays a brilliant, amoral defense lawyer who will do anything to maintain his unblemished record in Northern Florida. His perfect streak draws the attention of a New York firm which is branching into criminal law. To induce him to work for them, the firm dangles unbelievable inducements before his eyes.

As it turns out, the firm is a little bit more than a law firm. They have their hands in every bit of evil in the world, and maybe beyond. The head of the firm, John Milton, seems to have uncanny powers. He never sleeps. He speaks every language in the world. Who could he be. Let's see. Let me think, could it be ....... Satan?


  • Charlize Theron did a full-frontal inside the church after her sex with the devil, and showed her breasts earlier in a sex scene with Keanu.
  • Connie Nielsen also did a full-frontal in the climactic scene in the devil's penthouse.
  • Tamara Tunie showed her breasts in the dressing room.
If you'll look at the summaries below, you'll see that regular folks like us love the movie, made it a solid hit throughout the world, and rate it in the 7's, up there with West Side Story and Titanic. Critics were not so enthusiastic. I don't think anyone rated it more than three stars or the equivalent. I guess they think that every movie has to be Battleship Potemkin.

Personally, I'm with the people on this one. I think it's fine to make brainless escapist flicks, as long as they entertain me. This kind of film sure beats the hell out of Chariots of Fire and other such high minded but tedious fare. Give me this and Wild Things and There's Something About Mary and Raiders of the Lost Ark and even the South Park movie over The English Frigging Patient any day. I can't say this is a four star movie, because in my mind four stars is reserved for the greatest of the great. But I tell ya what, I think it's near the top of the food chain among the pure entertainment films.

DVD info from Amazon.

Although this came out a while ago, it is an excellent DVD. Good transfer, extended scenes, widescreen version, and full-length commentary, plus several extras on f/x and more.

Who better to play the devil than Al Pacino? He's talented, charming, slightly debauched looking, and the best damned speechifyer since William Jennings Bryan. Pacino went over the top, and he knew it and loved it - exulted in it. Could anybody else pull this off? If Shatner did it, we'd be laughing, but Pacino has just enough aplomb to pull off this campy portrayal.

Y'know, we've had a few laughs at his expense in movies like Coppola's Dracula, but Keanu does fine in this type of movie. Even his cheesy North Florida accent was appropriate.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: Two and a half to three stars. Ebert 2.5/4, Berardinelli 3/4, Maltin 3/4, Apollo 72/100.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.0 out of 10, one of the highest ratings among pure escapist films. Apollo voters score it 78/100.
  • With their dollars ... A very solid hit. Took in $60 million in the USA, another $90 million overseas, and $25 million so far in rentals.

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