Monday, November 18, 2013

Devil's Advocate (Unrated Director's Cut) (2012)

Devil's AdvocateHere comes a sharp, strong-voiced New York city lawyer with a lot of experience complemented by rare physical and mental powers. Played by Al Pacino, John Milton is a loner who wins cases by ignoring what is and isn't "by the book". While in the process of establishing a law partner, Milton runs across hot shot Keanu Reeves, who is yet to lose. Reeves turns out to become the perfect missing piece to the puzzle for Pacino. His character spends a significant amount of time with his new law partner in business and pleasure circumstances, in order to indirectly let his new friend know him better, to find out who he really is. As time passes, tension between the two businessmen arises and Keanu, the perfect defender/convicter sees his life unfold to become a total nightmare.

"The Devils Advocate" has been compared to "The Firm", but "The Firm" is more drawn out and isn't in with the fantasy or horror genre. Al Pacino really shows his stuff in this, with a more than believable performance that features numerous profound monologues that are always mastered by this Italian legend. His costar, Keanu, hits the target for the first time, bringing genuine emotion and class to the table. Overall, "The Devil's Advocate" is very intriguing, extremely well acted with some impressive special effects. I found this movie to be one of the best of the 90s.

This movie is actually a shocking wake up call in the moral department. If you follow my reviews, you know that I dislike modern shoot em up movies. But setting this aside, it is interesting how many movies inspire the wrong values. (Shoot everybody up, take down who stands in your way, fall in love, and live happily ever after. I could go on and on, but so many movies fall into this category.) Well, "The Devil's Advocate" seems to be a reaction against the amoral filth that often comes out of the movie theatres. The basic theme of this movie according to its director is: "Do I do the right thing, or do I survive?" The story starts at a courtroom in Florida. Lawyer Kevin Lomax realizes that his client is really guilty, but after a bit of taunting, he gets his client off anyway, and it's not hard to see that satisfying his ego was the main reason he did so. Well, Kevin gets an offer from a law firm in New York City to pick a jury for a client who DID steal millions. Again, Kevin comes through. The leader of this city firm John Milton (Al Pacino) then offers Kevin a job with a tempting salary. So far, this all seems part of the 'American Dream.' (Play some moral games to get to the top if you need to.) Apparently Kevin has gotten there, but the story is FAR from over. Sadly, some vital scenes were deleted for the purpose of time. (One is where Al Pacino says: "Leave morals to God. We have a job to do." Another sadly deleted scene is where Kevin's wife Mary Anne is sent into a room where sexual amoral games are going on.) At the risk of over simplifying a bit, with Al Pacino's well timed appearances, it becomes clear that the more moral games Kevin is willing to play, the further he can go. It is interesting that about half way through the movie, Kevin starts to treat his moral and religious mother with disrespect, and that the marriage between Kevin and Mary Anne starts to have serious problems. An obvious example is when Mary Anne gets a beautiful cut and dye hair job, but Kevin calls it: 'radical' and 'traumatic.' Why? He already has his eyes on other women. (Notably Christa Bella.) Another sadly deleted scene is where it was obvious that if Christa Bella had been present at the dance club, Kevin would have been willing to engage in adultery. The once happy marriage with Mary Anne has become a burden to him. (This is obvious when during a phone call, he lies to her about being at work and starts to get very short with her.) Well, Kevin continues to take the money as well as other things, at the expense of his morals. It is not until he realizes that his new client Alexander, IS guilty of several murders that his conscience starts to wake up. But even if our conscience has awakened, will we listen to it, or will we survive? Kevin realizes that after you have played too many moral games, backing out isn't so easy. And it isn't long before he realizes that Al Pacino is in fact the DEVIL. Perhaps the most frightening moment in this movie is when Kevin tries to blame the devil for everything that happened to him, and the devil can HONESTLY reply: "Wait a minute. Who MADE those decisions?" Another frightening thing about this movie is that we probably all have played moral games in our lives, and this movie confronts us with things we are probably ALL guilty of. Forget the grotesque devils and demons in horror movies who can make you do things. Any priest or nun will say that evil is simply the absence of God. And if the devil did make an appearance, he could very well appear fatherly and likable. And he probably would say things that SOUND good. This movie is proof that in horror, blood and guts are laughable compared to frightening truth that we may wish to avoid.

Buy Devil's Advocate (Unrated Director's Cut) (2012) Now

I think I am finally going to have to admit that I like Keanu Reeves. Every movie I see him in, he's Ted. Ted the lawyer, Ted the Christ-figure, Ted the Buddha-figure, Ted the son of Satan, Ted the guy with the wife turning into a vapire, Ted the serial killer. He's just the same dopy guy in every movie and yet that character is really beginning to grow on me and I'm starting to realize that there is a difference between his roles. Maybe a subtle one but it's a difference. And he must be a very nice guy because he keeps ending up in all the great movies and despite how much I might be starting to like him he's still not THAT talented.

This is a movie of pure brilliant evil. Al Pacino would be great for the last 15 minutes alone when he's over the top, blaspheming against G-d, nature and the American Judicial System. But the fact that Pacino lets himself play it down for most of the movie is great. He's polite. He's suave and there's just something a little off about him. He also lets Keanu have most of the movie. Usually if you are on screen with Pacino, forget about being remembered unless you happened to be DeNiro, but in this movie the director and the actor know how to hang back and make Reeves look good.

Basically this movie is a parable about a lawyer without a conscience or at least without one that is going to stand in the way of winning. Due to his success he gets hired by a high-profile law firm with sinister undertones and begins to get a whole new breed of killers off. Oh yeah, the President of the law firm is Satan.

This movie has some beautiful scenes including the final denoument with Satan and Reeves as well as the empty street of New York City that Keanu Reeves walks over to get to his confrontation. Charlize Theron (sic?) is the unraveling moral fiber that undercuts Reeves' flirtation with the dark side. Where he makes choices and loses a little more of his soul, she goes insane and changes her Belinda Carlisle hairdo to the Belinda Carlisle-postcocaine hairdo.

This is an amazing movie. Brilliant and psychotic. Religious enough to please religious folks and blasphemous enough to entertain everyone else. Rent it, buy it and watch it over and over again.

One caveat: the lawyer as devil storyline has been done to death. It's great here but one wonders why the festering resentment against lawyers is so pervasive. Then again that is on of the few professionals besides drug dealer or hitman where people hate the successful practitioners. Oh well, occupational hazard for the neat cars and the big houses.

Read Best Reviews of Devil's Advocate (Unrated Director's Cut) (2012) Here

Still a fine and intriguing film after all these years. No summaries or opinions on acting here; just a review of the transfer to Blu Ray.

Blu Ray Transfer Quality Review

Despite Amazon's refusal to separate the Standard Def release reviews from the Blu Ray reviews, I did not think that the Standard Def version was a bad release. That said, the transfer to Blu Ray is an improvement in terms of color resolution and contrast. There was no perceptible grain and no artifacting, stair-stepping or aliasing in any part of the film. The Blu Ray video is the star of this transfer with nice details in the shadows and a nicely saturated palate of color. Skin tones were as they should be as well.

The lossless audio is DTSHD 5.1 It is the front stage where the audio lives and shines. and while the audio levels are excellent and dialogue is clear and precise, even when the music score comes on, your center channel speaker will get most of the work. There is some small amount of panning across the front stage and light use of your LFE channel. The rear channels are used primarily for non discreet audio ambience with only one scene in the entire film where discreet channeling to the rears comes to play. The audio surprised me then as there had been no use of discreet rears throughout.

The Blu Ray version of The Devils Advocate is certainly worth the inexpensive prices it has been going for but, as I said, the standard def version wasn't too bad and the differences between the two are not night and day. The extras included the typical commentary, some deleted scenes that did not add much to the film and that's about it.

All my movie reviews are of this nature and focus only on the quality of the transfer to BluRay so check them and see if they are of help as well.

Hopefully, this review has been of some help to you in determining your purchase, hope I am on the correct path with a review of the transfer quality as opposed to providing plot summaries.


Want Devil's Advocate (Unrated Director's Cut) (2012) Discount?

"The Devil's Advocate is one of those movies that sneak up on you, grab you and won't let go. The story is simple enough; a young fireball of a lawyer, Kevin Lomax, played by Keanu Reeves, who has never lost a case, finds himself in the middle of every defense attorney's nightmare, representing a slimy sleazeball accused of molesting little girls. Halfway through the trial he realizes his client is guilty as hell, which presents him with a dilemma: he can extend his winning streak at the price of losing his soul; or he can do the right thing at the possible risk of torpedoing his career. What's a young, up and coming hotshot to do? In no time at all, he and his beautiful, fatally naive wife (excellently played by Charlize Theron) are off to New York, where he has been recruited to work for a high-powered law firm headed by a omnilingual, diabolically clever lawyer named John Milton (Al Pacino looks like he had the time of his life in this role) and staffed by a bunch of hell-bound associates. While Kevin's career takes off, his wife descends into a miasma of loneliness, despair and finally madness; and when Kevin berates Milton for driving his wife into her personal hell, Milton reminds Kevin that God, whom Milton fears as much as he hates, gave us all a left-handed gift called free will; we are free to make our own choices, and we have to live with the consequences. As the feller says, you can't win 'em all. The film runs somewhat overlong but holds our interest throughout. There are many good performances in this movie and a few excellent ones, but when all is said and done, the film belongs to Al Pacino and his gleefully wicked portrayal of the devil incarnate. Kevin is finally left to make his own choice, which I'm not going to give away here; suffice to say that the film's resolution is a shock. Maybe you can't win 'em all, but director Taylor Hackford clearly came up a winner with this movie.

Save 30% Off

No comments:

Post a Comment