ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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The Devil's Advocate (1997), (R)
CAP Score: 26
CAP Influence Density: 2.90
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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

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NOTE: We make no scoring allowances for Hollywood's trumped-up "messages" to excuse, or its manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth. If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie

On July 26, 2000 the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry released a joint statement regarding the dangers of violence in entertainment. I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. An exceptionally important statement in the release that deserves your earnest attention is "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." [Emphasis is mine] Another statement in the report is "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed child psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the joint statement and our findings.

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.


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.


  • (KJV) 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Matt. 4:5-7 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
  • Isa. 13:11 I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
  • Prov. 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.
  • Matt. 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
  • Gal. 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.


    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: The Devil's Advocate (1997) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • video of brutality against a black man for a ritualistic killing of a goat
  • martial arguments
  • screaming fit
  • firearm and threat with it
  • knife threat
  • pictures of murder gore
  • story of rape
  • baby playing with raw flesh, supposed to be the ovaries of a barren woman
  • physical rough-up
  • vehicular fatality
  • gore of injuries
  • multiple gunshot hits on a man with no injuries
  • flesh rotting to dust

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 49 uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • 40 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • talk of hating father
  • placing work before wife
  • vulgar anatomical reference

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • graphic story of child sexual molestation
  • self touch to arouse
  • instances of inappropriate touching/contact
  • excessive cleavage
  • stories of immoral sex and intercourse
  • adults in underwear
  • sexual comments, innuendo, conversations
  • statue nudity
  • sexual advances - attempts to seduce
  • at least 11 instances of full female nudity and many instances of lesser nudity
  • woman forcing another woman to touch her breasts
  • mutual stripping, ostensibly for intercourse
  • body licking
  • positioning for oral sex
  • episodes of intercourse
  • ghosting of female anatomy through clothing
  • women as sex toys
  • lesbian touching
  • admissions of adultery
  • story of welcome rape
  • nudity with mutilations
  • suggestive eye movements
  • nude statues coming to life in a swirling mass of bodies, multiple nudity
  • stripping to full nudity to seduce

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking
  • drinking
  • drunkenness
  • drunken revelry
  • drink to soothe fear and anxiety

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • 9 uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 18 uses without
  • doors opening and closing inexplicably
  • Voodoo-looking scenery
  • demon faces materializing on human faces
  • flesh rippling to suggest demon possession
  • instantaneous exchanging of people
  • foretelling of events
  • out-of-body visions of self
  • visual distortions implying demonic presence chasing a man then becoming humans with demon faces
  • "Maybe God threw the dice once too often"
  • "Maybe He let us all down"
  • daring God and arrogance toward His authority
  • "He'll take away your fear" about the antiChrist
  • portrayal of a man as Satan or the antiChrist
  • portrayal of a man as the son of the antiChrist
  • "God likes to watch. He's a prankster"
  • "God is an absentee landlord"
  • long sequence about God being unfair, fake, foolish, and uncaring
  • inanimate objects coming to life
  • multiple demons swirling in flames

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • beating murder by demons
  • suicide by cutting one's own throat
  • suicide by gunshot to the head

  • (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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    Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.

    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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