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 occult horror drama - a young defense attorney during a particularly difficult trial in Florida sold his soul to the devil - it was part of an elaborate daydream or fantasy when he realized he was about to compromise his integrity by representing a guilty client in the case of a child-molester schoolteacher - and he was about to acquit the suspect by discrediting the victim during cross-examination; in his fantastic daydream, the lawyer found himself entering into the perversely seductive tutelage and service of diabolical John Milton (deliberately named to imply his "Paradise Lost") at a law firm in Manhattan - to be corrupted by a life of sex, money, and power:

  • the high-above New York rooftop negotiation sequence in which John Milton (Al Pacino) offered aspiring Florida defense attorney Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) fame and fortune, with Milton's perversely-seductive performance as the head of a multi-national law firm
  • Lomax's descent into hell fantasy, imagining that his distressed and troubled wife Mary Ann (Charlize Theron) had been raped and then committed suicide, and that Milton was his father; she was in a church in the nude, confessing that Milton "made me do it"
  • the startling scene of Mary Ann, in a mental institution, slitting her throat as Kevin tried to break into her room to prevent her from hurting herself
  • the dipping of Milton's finger into baptismal holy water to make it boil and his hysterical laugh in curtains of flames
  • the sequence of Milton's 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 Tempted by Milton's Half-Sister Christabella
  • the scene of the wall sculpture mural with naked figures that came to life, when Milton tempted Lomax with nude, redheaded co-worker and half-sister Christabella Adrioli (Connie Nielsen) in his office: ("It's time to step up and take what's yours"), to have sex with her and to father the Anti-Christ; while referring to his own 'free will,' Lomax voluntarily committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. In reaction, Milton cried "No!" and he and the wall mural burst into raging flames (and was converted into angelic form), while a naked Christabella age-withered and died
Attorney Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) Committing Suicide
Satanic John Milton
Bursting into Flames
Converted Into Angelic Form
  • Lomax was brought back to reality, and returned to the Gettys case courtroom during a recess period - where he announced in the courtroom (as part of doing "the right thing") that he would no longer represent his guilty client - thus threatening his own disbarment
  • the final curtain-closing meeting between Lomax and press newsman Larry (Neal Jones), who summed up his offer of a sensational media story about Lomax's turn-about: "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, the press-man morphed into Milton, and gloated with a devilish grin: "Vanity - definitely my favorite sin!" - insinuating that the Devil still had plans to intervene in the Lomax's lives, and then dissolving into flames as The Rolling Stones' Paint It, Black played

John Milton
(Al Pacino)

Mary Ann (Charlize Theron) Nude in Church

Mary Ann's Suicide

Milton's Fingers Made Baptismal Water Boil

Milton In Front of Wall Sculpture Mural

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


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