The Horror Honeys: Evil has it's winning ways.

Evil has it's winning ways.

Devil's Advocate (1997)

The Devil is appealing.  The Devil is attractive. The Devil can give you anything you, power, success, women, men - anything.

The problem, is free will.

The story:  Kevin Lomax is a hot piece of Southern lawyer with a wolfish smile, snakeskin boots and a hot wife who wants a baby like they're running out at Black Friday.  Kevin is on fire - an unblemished courtroom record (64 convictions and counting) and an invitation to come to New York to work for a huge law firm with an equally huge paycheque attached. Kevin must choose his path carefully while his wife loses her mind, and people start to die - but Kevin keeps on winning and his boss keeps on grinning.

Devil's Advocate starts off like a John Grisham novel adaptation, or something that should be starring Michael Douglas and cigars.  Slow moving with focus on developing the character of our star criminal lawyer, and on the relationship between Kevin (Keanu Reeves) and his boss John Milton (an annoyingly named Al Pacino- that has made my eye twitch since 1998). The painfully 90's styling and presentation, it's the only thing I'd want to change about the film.  The attempt to make films that are virtually "un-dateable" is important, and I wish that had been done here.

Things I love:
Al Pacino - Hands down, he is the most amazing thing about this film for me.  Aside from having some of the most amazing monologues ever, Pacino is the fucking king of sinister delivery and he gives me the chills every time.  "I'm the hand up Mona Lisa's skirt..."  He's sexual, he's powerful.  He's a perfect devil.
Architecture - dear GOD the people I would kill for these apartments, the views, the locations.  I'm pretty sure there are people in New York who HAVE killed for apartments like this.

Kevin: "Where does he sleep?"
Heath: "Who says he sleeps?"
Kevin: "Where does he fuck?"

When things start to get weird - "I thought I would recognize you, but I do not..." the first shudder that something isn't quite right in Kevin's world.  Well, that and the cow tongue being hammered full of nails - spiritual currency.  Love it.   
I also adore the innate creepy knowledge that Milton has - little tidbits, secrets.  I love the terror he inspires with it.  The creepy keeps on coming.  If you're not looking for it, you won't even notice that anything's amiss until the real crazy happens.
The other wives - "You've got three choices - the holy trinity - you can work (nose crinkle), you can play (eyebrow wiggle)...or you can breed..." I love these snake women.  These prizes, because that's what they are.  Rewards for work well done, and granted to Milton's top executives after they've proven themselves. Milton even has a prize for Kevin, if he makes the "right" decisions.
Mary Ann- her brilliant freak outs, her crazy dreams, and her gorgeous death all make the fact that she's an AWFULLY written character kind of ok.  Charlize Theron makes Mary Ann watchable, even though the fact that she turns into a ridiculously wilted flower of a women about an hour into the film really chaps my ass.  

You chap my ass Mary Ann.  SRSLY.

Where everything falls apart:
The appearance of Alexander Cullen (Craig T Nelson), is where I start to lose focus a bit, and thankfully so does the film.  In an attempt to bring the Devil thing to an obvious point, the movie loses steam and spins out of control a bit.  Milton "orders" a colleague's death, which is carried out by invisible demons/homeless dudes with demon faces, and then there's a hastily inserted side-story about a company trying to expose Milton's company for their many frauds and generally stereotypically lawyerish behavior.

The verdict:  There isn't much I don't love about this film, but even I'll admit that I one-two-skip-a-few through some parts.  The twist ending is one of my favorites, and I always giggle a little when it appears in other films too.  I like the through that we have many chances to live this life, and that it's all really a "Choose Your Own Adventure" type set-up, but that some people, will always fuck it up.

Devil's Advocate earns 3.5 Satanic alters out of 5 from this Honey.

Vanity, is definitely my favorite sin.