“Can you summon your talent at will?” This is a question from Satan himself in the The Devil’s Advocate. For Al Pacino I would say the answer is a resounding yes. Pacino has been making us offers we just couldn’t refuse for 30 years. Just a list of his exceptional films would require more space than I have here. You’ll find this film to be one of his more underrated gems.
Kevin Lomax (Reeves) is a hot young lawyer with an uncanny ability to pick a winning jury; in fact he’s never lost. He is a poster child for the “winning is everything” school of law. Now he’s been offered a job in one of the world’s most powerful law firms run by John Milton (Pacino)
Kevin and his wife (Theron) move from Gainesville, Florida to New York City. Here Kevin is quickly seduced by Milton’s world of power and pleasure.He continues to win at all costs including his own family.
Of course, Milton is more than a powerful lawyer. He just so happens to have a side job, The Devil. What follows is more family revelations than a StarWars film and a cagey game of “Beat The Devil”.
The film touts a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. For most of the film the sound was crystal. This film doesn’t make much use of ambient sounds but separation was constant and clear. The dialogue is very important in this “talky” film and is well centered and always understandable. James Newton-Howard’s score is subtle and very carefully reproduced.
There is a commentary track featuring director Taylor Hackford. Hackford provides tons of insight into the characters and the symbolism prevalent throughout the film. He seldom touches on technical aspects and is quite talkative. It seems like he never stops to take a breath which can become exhausting.
The film is presented in its original anamorphic “scope” widescreen ratio of 2.35:1While the transfer is faithful and clear there are a significant number of film scars and artifacts present. There is also a noticeable amount of grain in the interior shots. The color is subtle and filtered as is the original film. The blacks are tolerable and overall richly rendered.
Unfortunately there are not many special features to report on here. The only notable feature is a collection of deleted scenes. They are provided only with the commentary track making it hard to actually hear the original audio of each scene. While this track is educational it would have been nice to option it off.
Aside from an assortment of TV spots and trailers all of the remaining features are text based and include: Cast and crew bios, Production notes, and articles on Sin, The Devil, and John Milton (Writer of Paradise Lost). Lastly, the menus are simple and easy to navigate.
It’s no surprise that Warner Brothers did not give this film much of a special treatment even for a “special edition”. The film was not all that successful but if you’re a Pacino fan you should give this one a chance. There are some first rate f/x in final scenes. So, if you feel the need to pop this one in your DVD don’t feel too embarrassed. We’ve been told that even “God likes to watch”.