Movie In Depth – The Devil’s Advocate (1997)

The devil’s advocate is a riveting tale portrayed as an American super horror story written by Jonathan Lemkin and Tony Gilroy. A tale between a simple man and the Devil. It is based on Andrew Neiderman’s novel.


Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves), is a defence attorney who has never lost a case. He resides in Gainesville, Florida with his wife MaryAnne (Charlize Theron). His latest trial case involves defending a child molester who has been accused of touching his female students inappropriately.

After a vivid and damning testimony by Barbara (Molested Student), Mr Gettys is portrayed as guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. Kevin knowing his client was guilty during the recess ignores the advice of one reporter Larry who tells him its ok to lose sometimes. Mr. Lomax after the short recess manages to harshly cross examine Barbara and damage her testimony and credibility to win the case to the astonishment of her parents, the public and news reporters who were dead certain that this would be the day Mr. Lomax lose a case. He wins anyway.

This draws attention of a law firm in New York. Milton, Chadwick and Waters acquires the services of Kevin to pick a jury for a trial of a man who is guilty beyond all doubt. Kevin’s jury does the trick and the man is set free. Kevin is offered large salary and upscale apartment to convince him stay in New York with the firm.

The head of the firm, Milton (Al Pacino) manages to lure Kevin in. Kevin and MaryAnn move to Manhattan but MaryAnn feels neglected as Kevin spends most of his time at work.

Kevin’s christian mother Alice, comes to pursuade them to move back home but Kevin refuse.

A billionaire Alex Cullen accused of murdering his wife, maid and his stepson’s case is assigned to Kevin. This takes more of his time and he begins to fall for Christabella, his co-worker.

MaryAnn begins to have disturbing visions of Kevin’s co-worker’s wives becoming demonic and a baby playing with her removed ovaries. This occurs right after a doctor declares her infertile. She begs her husband that they should return home but he declines.

Milton suggests to Kevin that he drops the case and pay attention to his wife but Kevin refuses stating that he’ll hate her forever if she recovers later and he loses the case.

Eddie Barzoon, the firm’s managing partner accuses Kevin of competing for his job which Kevin denies. Eddie threatens to report the firm’s actions to the US Attorney’s office of the firm’s dark activities. After Milton learns of this Eddie is mysteriously beaten to death in an alleyway by vagrants with demonic appearance.

After Eddies funeral Kevin is chased by a man who reveals the dark secrets of the law firm to him. He also tells him that Mr. Gettys was arrested after a child’s body was found in his car. As the man approaches him to tell him more, he is instantly killed by a car.

Melissa, Cullen’s Secretary is interviewed by Kevin after which Kevin finds out of Cullen’s guilt. He tells Milton this and he gives him the choice to withdraw or proceed. He proceeds to let in Melissa false testimony and he wins the trial setting Cullen free.

After the case, Kevin finds MaryAnn covered in white blankets in a church. When she drops the blankets, she is bruised and brutalised. She reveals Milton raped her but Kevin doubt this as Milton was in the court with him all day. He then proceeds to commit MaryAnn to a mental hospital claiming she did it to herself.

Alice, Kevin and Pam (Kevin case manager) visit MaryAnn. After seeing that Pam is a demon MaryAnn cuts her with a broken mirror after which she barricades herself in a room and cuts her throat with a shard of glass from the mirror as Kevin struggles to get to her. She dies.

Alice then reveals to Kevin that Milton is her father. He leaves the hospital to confront Milton. Who admits to raping Kevin’s wife after which Kevin tries to shoot him but the bullets are ineffective. Milton reveals himself as Satan and Kevin blames him for everything but Milton insists that he merely ‘sets the stage’’ but the choice were always Kevin’s.

Milton then tells Kevin to sleep with Christabella, his half sister so they can conceive the Antichrist. ‘Better to Reign in Hell than serve in Heaven right’? Kevin appears to go with it at first but then abruptly remembers ‘free will’  and shoots himself in the head with a smile. Milton and Christabella scream in a fiery chaos as she is withered into a corpse and he catches fire.

Kevin finds himself back in the bathroom at the recess of Mr Gettys’ case just before he’s about to go cross examine Barbara. He looks at MaryAnn with delight and relief in his eyes as he returns to the courtroom .This time he does the right thing and decides to take himself off the case.

Larry pleads with Kevin for an interview promising to make Kevin a huge star. After encouragement from MaryAnn he agrees. After they leave, Larry transforms into Milton and exclaims ‘vanity, definitely my favourite sin’.

My thoughts

The devil will always set the stage for us to sin. But the choice remains our own.


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