The Luso World Cinema Blogathon – The Devil’s Advocate (1997)

This is the second of 4 reviews celebrating Portuguese heritage in Film for The Luso World Cinema Blogathon being hosted by Beth of Spellbound By Movies and Letícia Magalhães of Crítica Retrô.

Thanks for letting me partake!

“Free will. It’s like butterfly wings: once touched, they never get off the ground. No, I only set the stage. You pull your own strings.” – John Milton

Number of Times Seen – Twice (Cable in the 90’s and 11 Nov 2019)

Brief Synopsis – A promising young Southern lawyer is recruited by a prominent New York law firm where he is quickly groomed to be their star.

My Take on it – When trying to pick films to review for this blogathon, I decided that the best way to connect with the theme was to find actors with Portuguese heritage and watch some of their work.

While going through the list, Keeanu Reeves popped up and I used this as an excuse to finally rewatch this film that I hadn’t seen in decades.

The overall premise is an interesting one yet fails to work as well as one would hope it could due to the way that they present things.

The biggest problem is that the cast is superb yet they aren’t given enough to work with that would help to make things more enjoyable.

Reeves is joined here by Al Pacino, Jeffrey Jones, Craig T. Nelson, Charlize Theron and Judith Ivey who all do fine jobs as always but the fact that the characters aren’t developed well enough hurts things too much.

The story also meanders along a bit too much and two and half hours is much too long for this story since there are too many lulls in the way that the story plays out.

The movie tries much too hard to make itself feel like a parallel to some major literature works and loses much of its impact especially when it tries to get a bit too existential along the way.

The plot go off into some strange places and fails to keep its pacing steady which in turn causes things to be much too convoluted and complex, essentially losing the audiences attention.

Bottom Line – Interesting idea that unfortunately doesn’t work as well as one would hope. The cast is great, but the story meanders along a bit too much. The film tries too hard to parallel the story with various philosophical works and the existential aspects of this film just don’t manage to hit hard enough to make the characters or story more interesting. The plot goes to some very strange places and loses its pacing when it gets a bit too convoluted along the way.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – According to the director’s commentary on the DVD, after they finished filming Daniel Oreskes’s scene in which he coughs violently for several minutes, the entire cast and crew broke out into applause. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)


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4 thoughts on “The Luso World Cinema Blogathon – The Devil’s Advocate (1997)

  1. Now I don’t feel so bad for not having watched this film… Keanu and Al Pacino are amazing, and it’s too bad they didn’t have the script they deserved.
    Thanks for your dedication to our blogathon!


  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1997 | MovieRob

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