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The Devil's Advocate (1997), (R)
CAP Score: 26
CAP Influence Density: 2.90
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SUMMARY / COMMENTARY:
The Devil's Advocate (R) -- is a lawyer...
...who gets a taste of the good life that comes from high-dollar legalese. But at a great expense. One of the payments is with his wife.
"Fatherless" Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) is a backwoods lawyer who has never lost a case. By sneaking to listen to jury selections as a boy, Lomax developed a knack for selecting juries -- ones that don't convict, which is why he has been so "successful." He is sought by a prestigious law firm in New York which wants his expertise to get murderous father Alexander Cullen (Craig T. Nelson) off the hook and on the streets -- legally. It turns out that Lomax's expertise was not his own nor did he come by his no-loss record on his own. He had help ... from the devil, more specifically the antiChrist, who turned out to be Lomax's father. Whether Satan or the antiChrist this character was evil and was presented as participating in prophetic behaviors and actions of both Satan and the antiChrist. But then, so what?
Even the episode of Jesus being tempted by Satan on the temple pinnacle [Matt. 4:5-7] was mimicked by Lomax in the role of Jesus (now there is a real counterfeiting - the son of the antiChrist in the role of Jesus?) and his prospective new boss, John Milton (Al Pacino) in the role of Satan (or the antiChrist -- what difference it made in the story was invisible). The mimicry came as Milton and Lomax walked out on to the top of a skyscraper rather than a temple pinnacle as Milton offered the city below to Lomax instead of the world.. In whatever form, the "Satan" in this movie, Milton, offered all that was at Lomax's feet to him to join: all of Manhattan and beyond. And I somehow very much doubt New York is the Holy City in Matt 4:5. I wonder if there is any design to using the name "Milton" -- a Milton wrote "Paradise Lost" from which came the now famous line of supreme arrogance [Isa. 13:11]"It is better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven", a line which was used in the movie.
As would be expected of a Satan-glorifying show, this flick presented a ton of really slick and nice-sounding rationale for embracing the "free" gifts of Satan and for rejecting God and His loving omnipotence and *especially* His expectations of us [Prov. 1:10]. I say "Satan-glorifying" because even though he loses in the end much cinematic time, energy, and attractiveness is spent on him being great and wonderful and fatherly and caring and good and powerful and ... [Matt. 24:5] but only moments on his defeat. You've seen this technique since entertainment heroes became no more than a distant memory. In just about every good guy - bad guy, good versus evil movie almost all energy is spent on the bad guy and his ways with only moments on the consequences if consequences beyond token, conservative-appeasing consequences are presented at all. And it is my claim by a five year study that such programming will plant aberrant behavior templates much more completely and deeply than will the pitifully meager presentation of "redemption" or "consequences" plant good behavior mechanics and coping skills. And movies plant behavioral templates -- there is no escaping it.
Some of the more invasive mockings of our Lord used in The Devil's Advocate included "Maybe God threw the dice once too often" implying that God makes mistakes and takes chances. Another line of challenging God's omnipotence was "Maybe He let us all down." Other mockings of our Father included "God likes to watch. He's a prankster" and "God is an absentee landlord." [Gal. 6:7] Speaking of challenging, during a funeral of one of his cohorts, Milton gloats in the church and sticks his finger in the holy water ... and it boils while the cinematography suggests of the church and His presence in it cowers.
If you have been told this is a holy movie about the defeat of Satan and the power and glory of our Lord and Savior, note that the name Jesus was not mentioned once. Salvation through the Precious Blood was not mentioned once. His Victory with the Cross and Resurrection was not mentioned once. And with the realization that such a vast amount of time was spent on glorifying the role of Satan with only moments on his defeat, does that really make the point? And, by the way, in this movie it was not Jesus who defeated the beast as foretold in Revelation. The one who "defeated" Satan's plans in this movie killed himself with a .38 through his head -- graphically.
And, of course, the final scenes show the one who killed himself to thwart Satan's plans, Lomax, as healthy, moral, and with scruples as the implication was that all the events before were a dream or something of the sort.
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
FINDINGS / SCORING:
NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):