Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Devil's Advocate (1997)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Devil's Advocate (1997)

In director Taylor Hackford's sexy, supernatural occult) horror drama and suspense thriller was a proto-typical film of the 1990s; see Sex in Films for uncensored version; it referenced elements of the Faustian tale (about selling one's soul to the devil), English writer John Milton's notable work Paradise Lost (published in 1674), and Italian writer Dante Alighieri's narrative poem Divine Comedy (in particular, the first of three sections titled Inferno) with its imaginative view of the afterlife including a descent into the underworlds of hell and purgatory:

  • the story opened in the small town Gainesville, Florida where young defense lawyer Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) lived with his wife Mary Ann Lomax (Charlize Theron); the undefeated attorney was involved in a particularly difficult trial - the case of charges of child molestation against a HS math teacher; a short recess was called after the Prosecutor in the case had just questioned the young victim Barbara (Heather Matarazzo), who testified that her teacher Lloyd Gettys (Chris Bauer) had touched her under her blouse and skirt; Lomax was extremely worried that he was about to lose the first case in his career
  • Kevin returned to the courtroom and established through harsh questioning that Barbara didn't like her math teacher (and was doing poorly in his class), had often exhibited bad behavior, had written a note calling Gettys a "huge hog beast," and had pressured her friends to falsely claim that Gettys had also hurt them; as a result of Lomax's defense, he was able to "squeeze a man like Gettys through the door of reasonable doubt"
  • (SPOILER): During a fantastic day-dream or fantasy, Kevin was envisioning his future and what would possibly happen after conducting a very severe cross-examination to discredit the young victim, even though he knew that his client, child-molester Lloyd Gettys was indeed guilty; in other words, Kevin chose to join in the corrupted service of Satan by freeing his client, resulting in many unforseen consequences for his actions
  • Kevin found himself recruited to come to NYC by a representative of New York law firm, lawyer Leamon Heath (Ruben Santiago-Hudson); he was tested by the very powerful, multi-national NYC law firm to assist in jury selection; while in NY, Kevin learned that as a result of his courtroom questioning, the verdict came back that Gettys was "not guilty" in only 38 minutes
  • high-above New York City on a rooftop, the treacherous senior board member and head of the firm John Milton (Al Pacino) - (deliberately named to imply "Paradise Lost") was impressed with Lomax's assistance in jury selection, and negotiated to offer the aspiring Florida defense attorney fame and fortune; Milton revealed his perversely-seductive nature by appealing to Lomax's vanity with offers of wealth, power, fame, and sex
  • Lomax accepted an offer of a high-paying job and the couple moved to Manhattan, where Lomax began a busy schedule of work, while Mary Ann was left at home by herself; they didn't realize that their lives had been totally altered
  • Lomax met some of the other lawyers in the firm, including pretty and attractive red-headed co-worker Christabella Andreoli (Connie Nielsen); Lomax found himself entering into the perversely seductive tutelage and corrupted service of the diabolical John Milton - had he figuratively sold his soul to the devil?
  • Lomax proved himself by winning his first case - defending voodoo practitioner Phillipe Moyez (Delroy Lindo) - on trial for sacrificing a goat; his next proposed, high-profile case was to defend billionaire businessman Alexander Cullen (Craig T. Nelson) accused of murdering his wife, her stepson, and the maid
  • with Lomax away and hard at work on the Cullen case, Mary Ann's increasing isolation caused her distress; her mind became troubled during a shopping trip with two other lawyer's wives: Jackie (Tamara Tunie) (wife of Leamon Heath), and Diana (Pamela Gray) (wife of Managing Director Eddie Barzoon (Jeffrey Jones)); she imagined in a brief vision that Jackie's face had turned demonic
The Hallucinatory Love Scene with Mary Ann (Charlize Theron) and Christabella (Connie Nielsen)
  • to console Mary Ann for being away from her for long periods of time, Kevin suggested that they should have children; in a very hallucinatory sequence during love-making with his wife, Kevin fantasized that he was also having sex with Christabella
  • Kevin's fundamentalist mother Alice (Judith Ivey) met Milton during a visit, and had a disturbing conversation with Kevin's boss; it seemed that she had possibly known Milton from an earlier encounter in New York decades earlier [Note: Her sole act of intercourse in her entire life produced Kevin!]; upset by her discussion, Alice urged Kevin and Mary Ann to escape NY ("Babylon") and return home to Florida; at the same time, the very isolated and desperate Mary Ann was having nightmarish dreams about a baby playing with her removed ovaries, and the next day was diagnosed by a doctor as infertile; fearful, Mary Ann vainly begged Kevin to go back to Gainesville
  • Eddie Barzoon, who felt threatened by Kevin's fast ascendancy in the law firm, was found beaten to death in Central Park by ghostly homeless vagrants who appeared as demons
  • in the Alex Cullen murder case, Kevin accepted the false testimony of Cullen's secretary Melissa Black (Laura Harrington) who had a perjured alibi that she was having sex with Cullen on the night of his wife's murder, and Cullen was acquitted
  • after the secretary's testimony cleared Cullen, Lomax discovered Mary Ann in a local church covered by a blanket, claiming that Milton, who had earlier flirted with her, was having sex with her - and then forcefully raped her (Milton "made me do it"); Lomax was disbelieving since Milton had a solid alibi - he had been in court with him, and he took Milton's side against his wife; to prove her story, Mary Ann lowered her blanket to show cuts, bruises and scratches all over her body; fearful that Mary Ann was inflicting self-harm and injury, Kevin admitted Mary Ann to a mental institution
  • the film's major turning point came at Eddie Barzoon's funeral when Kevin noticed that Alexander Cullen was stroking his 14 year-old stepdaughter Alessandra Cullen's (Monica Keena) skin - and suddenly imagined Cullen as the child-molesting HS teacher Gettys who he was defending in his case in Florida; Kevin was also urgently notified by US Justice Dept. agent Mitch Weaver (Vyto Ruginis) that Milton's worldwide firm was corrupt (involved in arms brokering, chemical weapons and toxic waste, money laundering - "Milton is into everything"), and that Barzoon - now dead - was about to testify against Milton; he added that released pedophile Gettys was under arrest for another underage crime - this time a homicide of a 10 year-old girl found in the trunk of his car; immediately after, Weaver was conveniently struck and killed by a car in Lomax's view, as Milton at Barzoon's funeral service dipped his fingers into baptismal holy water causing the liquid to boil, with his hysterical laugh in curtains of flames
  • in the next startling scene set in the mental institution, the mentally-ill Mary Ann envisioned her case manager Pam Garrety (Debra Monk) as a demon; she barricaded herself in her room and suicidally slit her throat as Kevin tried to break into her room to prevent her from hurting herself
  • Kevin confronted Milton in his law office, who confessed that he had raped Mary Ann; Lomax attempted to shoot and kill Milton with gun shots, but he was invincible - due to being Satan himself; he also revealed that he was Lomax's father ("Call me Dad"); Milton reminded Kevin that everything he had done was of his own free-will choices ("Stop deluding yourself") - he was too busy and had neglected Mary Ann, causing her to be attracted to Milton and ultimately commit suicide, and he had defended the guilty teacher Gettys; Lomax reluctantly admitted that Milton was right
  • Milton delivered a climactic, fiery monologue in which he called God an "absentee landlord" and revealed himself as the charismatic, evil Satan himself: ("...Well, I tell ya, let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He's a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do? I swear, for His own amusement, His own private cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It's the goof of all time. Look, but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, don't swallow. Aha ha ha. And while you're jumpin' from one foot to the next, what is He doin'? He's laughin' His sick, f--kin' ass off. He's a tight-ass. He's a sadist. He's an absentee landlord. Worship that? Never!"); Lomax asked: "'Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven'", is that it?"
  • Milton added that he was a humanist through and through, and had been on man's side (as opposed to the absent God), and had made the 20th century his own century: "Why not? I'm here on the ground with my nose in it since the whole thing began. I've nurtured every sensation man's been inspired to have. I cared about what he wanted and I never judged him. Why? Because I never rejected him. In spite of all his imperfections, I'm a fan of man! I'm a humanist. Maybe the last humanist. Who, in their right mind, Kevin, could possibly deny the twentieth century was entirely mine? All of it, Kevin! All of it. Mine. I'm peakin'. It's my time now. It's our time."
  • as the wall sculpture mural with naked figures came to life behind him, the charismatic, evil Milton further seduced and tempted Lomax with Kevin's half-sister Christabella, to have sex with her and offering him the possibility of fathering the Anti-Christ; while referring to his own 'free will' to make the choice
  • in response to Milton's offer of "Everything, anything...How about bliss for starters, instant bliss, bliss on tap, bliss any way you want it," Lomax began kissing the nude Christabella, but then asked "What about love?"; Milton interjected: "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate" and urged: ("It's time to step up and take what's yours")

Attorney Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) Committing Suicide - An Awakening!

Satanic John Milton Shrieking Hysterically: "No!"
  • instead, Lomax voluntarily committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, citing his use of "free will." In reaction, Milton shrieked hysterically "No!" and due to his hot volcanic rage, he and the wall mural burst into raging flames while a naked Christabella age-withered and died, and Milton was converted into angelic form resembling Lomax
Christabella Age-Withering and Dying in Milton's Hot Rage
  • after this climactic series of events, in the first of two major plot twists, Lomax was brought back to reality, and returned to the Gettys case courtroom during a recess period; Mary Ann was still alive, and everything previously viewed was Kevin's fears of his future if he defended a known pedophile
  • in the Florida courtroom, Lomax announced (as part of doing "the right thing") that he would no longer represent his guilty client and cross-examine the witness - thus threatening his own disbarment
  • during the final curtain-closing meeting between Lomax and press newsman Larry (Neal Jones), the reporter summed up his high-profile offer of a sensational media story about Lomax's turn-about - bringing fame and stardom: "A lawyer with a crisis of conscience?...It's huge!...You've gotta give me an exclusive. This is wire service. This is 60 Minutes! This is a story that needs to be told. It's you! You're a star!"
"Vanity - definitely my favorite sin!"
  • and then after acquiring acceptance of his deal from Kevin (and Mary Ann), the press-man morphed into Milton, a second major plot twist, and gloated with a devilish grin: "Vanity - definitely my favorite sin!" - insinuating that the Devil would continue to intervene in the Lomax's lives; he then dissolved into flames as The Rolling Stones' Paint It, Black played

Defense Attorney Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) During Harsh Questioning in Florida Courtroom

John Milton (Al Pacino) and His Rooftop Persuasion of Kevin Lomax to Join NYC Law Firm

During Shopping Trip, Mary Ann's Momentary Flash of Jackie's Demonic Face

Kevin's Wife Mary Ann (Charlize Theron) in Church After Alleged Rape by Milton - With Bruises as Proof

Milton's Fingers Made Baptismal Water Boil at Eddie Barzoon's Church Funeral

Mary Ann's Suicide in a Mental Institution - She Slit Her Own Throat

Milton In Front of Wall Sculpture Mural Confronted by Lomax with Gun

Milton's Over-the-Top Rant and Denunciation of God

Lomax Tempted by Milton's Nude Half-Sister Christabella to Conceive the Anti-Christ

The Wall Mural and Milton Bursting into Flames

Milton Converted Into Angelic Form Resembling Lomax


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