The Devil's Advocate

The Devil's Advocate ★★★½

Operatic, comfortably paced, and unapologetically goofy. The three leads are all good-to-great barring the awkward Keanu Reeves accent in an otherwise committed performance. But Charlize Theron's gradual descent is quite powerful as its own invading sub-plot, and Al Pacino has a shocking level of nuance for what would seem like a pretty hammy phone-in for an increasingly typecast actor. Instead, he gets to show a lot of versatility and humanity, making him all the more imposing as a result.

The slow build to its big reveals makes its tragic and comic final act all the more so. A clearly smart team of screenwriters turning a law drama into a critical allegory, and then that allegory into a maddeningly, gloriously literal final layer that playfully accepts AND rejects its purpose in that final shot.

The DVD includes text descriptions about English poet John Milton (for whom Pacino's character is named), the Devil himself, and even the very concept of sin. If there's one thing that boutique blu-rays need to bring back, it's these unnecessary yet endearing special features. I want to see a stills gallery of the film I just watched. I want music videos completely unrelated to the soundtrack. I want Taylor Hackford himself to crawl through the screen and swallow me whole.

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