The up and down career of Keanu Reeves is almost always associated with his bland acting skill, but in Devil's Advocate he shows that he can act, and that he is only one piece in making a movie successful.
Veteran Al Pacino and rising star Charlize Theron, who can be seen in just about any film these days, are also key players in this slick and suspenseful thriller that doesn't let you know what is in store for it.
The best way to approach Devil's Advocate is by not knowing what this movie is going to present. I went into this movie having no idea what it was about, and having no clue as to what pace it was going to move at. I was pleasantly surprised.
The movie begins a small time lawyer with an undefeated record freeing a man he knows to be guilty of molesting a child. This marks the beginning of his corruption. From there he moves with his wife to New York, where he receives a high paying job and a gigantic apartment from his new boss, John Murdoch. As time goes on, his integrity is put to the test time and time again, and he begins to realize that Murdoch has something else in store for him...
Partway through the movie is when it really starts to change directions. I was actually in the bathroom at the time and I heard some strange music and Charlize Theron gasp in fright. I rewound a couple of seconds and was shocked. I think it is just amazing how one scene just completely shifts the film in another direction, and how it is acceptable considering the plot.
The acting is top notch in the film. I commend Keanu Reeves on his best acting performance so far, even if his accent is a little sketchy at times. Charlize Theron does her usual excellent job, and Al Pacino, of course, is satisfying.
The only part I really found weak was the ending. It is artistically creative and well done, but a little underwhelming. It reminds me of other movies with the same theme, only with different actors to fill in the blanks. Furthermore, Al Pacino's speech carries on for quite a while. It's hard to explain what I don't like about it without giving it away, but I'll just say that the movie should have ended five minutes earlier than it did. The last little segment was nice and happy, but not necessarily the most riveting of endings.
Still, Devil's Advocate plays out as a twisted The Firm, and I really was enthralled with this movie.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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