The Devil's Advocate [Blu-Ray] Taylor Hackford

The Devil's Advocate [Blu-Ray] Taylor Hackford
"I'm a surprise, Kevin. They don't see me coming." Maybe not, but when you shout every line, they certainly hear you, Mr. Pacino. The ferocious overacting of Al Pacino is one of this none-too-subtle moral parable's sinful pleasures. Screaming its subtext every step of the way, The Devil's Advocate positions defence lawyers as instruments of Satan. Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) is the tool tempted by pride in this devil's deal. Will the plucky young litigator besmirch his perfect record in a crisis of conscience or will he help a child molester get off to advance his career? There'd be no excuse for salacious displays of moral entrapment, pompous speechifying and blatant contrasting of social classes otherwise, so Lomax chooses membership to the cult of opportunity. As Lomax's neglected wife, Charlize Theron sees an opportunity of her own, wholeheartedly following the scenery-chewing example set by Pacino as her character descends into self-absorbed madness. Even the normally emotionally inert Keanu Reeves gets in on the shouting act, looking desperate to be taken seriously for a change. In a pulpy sort of way, the cranky, sacrilegious ranting and supernatural melodrama is kind of fun to revisit, and while extraordinarily indulgent ― there's no way this story needs to be more than two hours ― director Taylor Hackford makes some admirable attempts to insert elements of Polanski-style reality distortion, even if they end up playing about as subtly as Pacino's compensation issues. Regarding the quality of this Blu-Ray reissue, the HD transfer is nice and crisp, but the special features feel like an extended sentence in purgatory. Hackford provides a feature commentary and optional thoughts on over 20 minutes of deleted scenes in a movie already well beyond bloated at 144. But who'd want to miss learning more about the "important peripheral character" that lied about fellating Coach (Craig T. Nelson)? At least you can learn how to ask, "is he cut?" in Chinese, thanks to the magic of subtitles. (Warner)