I believe that the theme of this film is, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The story gives the lead money and power. The lead finds out that he needs to pay for it with his soul. The director has a lot of ambition for the movie. He brings a lot of religion and ethics into the characters of the film by using subliminal symbolism. Even though the director tries to make a lesson out of the film, he makes the film with a lot of takes. This makes the film fast and very stimulating.
Every detail of the screenplay is needed to make up the whole story. Given the directors ambition and intent, I think that he portrayed the story well. Subjectively, I did like this film. Even though the world is not entirely Christian, I believe we all have religion. Religion does not have to revolve around a god, but religion revolves around or morality. I enjoyed this film because it dealt around someones decision to do the right thing. The film starts out in Gainesville, Florida. As successful lawyer, Kevin Lomax, has never lost a case.
During his trial defending an alleged child molester in the form of a math teacher, he suddenly is caught up in the whole intriguing plot of the movie, that the firm Milton, Chadwick and Waters, a powerful firm in New York asks him to come down to help select a jury. After, he and his wife are treated to luxury on that visit, Kevin is offered a job with the firm based on his talent. He was given all he could wish for, in the form of a huge apartment and great office. There are two main characters in this movie, Kevin Lomax, who is played by Keanu Reeves, and John Milton, who is played by Al Pacino.
Kevin Lomax is a relatively good person, even though he is a lawyer. He has got a sixth sense; he has intuitions when he picks his jury. His mother is a devout Christian in Gainesville and does not approve of his life. She speaks at Kevin in scripture and he answers her back. He is not a practicing Christian though. During the church scene, you see Kevin go up to the church that he was once a big part of his life, but not in it. He is half in the light and half out of the light. He is a cool and cocky character. He knows that he is an unbeaten lawyer. His expensive alligator skin boots are shown throughout the movie.
In the first trial they show him with these boots while he is wearing a southern, cotton suit. These boots symbolize that he is always around and his attack is never seen coming, like an alligator. Kevin is the type that is impressed with big money. He went to New York and was at the top of the food chain. John Milton seems like a pure evil character from beginning. During his first scene, he is a mysterious standing outside of the courthouse. He then goes down into the subway. The next screen is the changing of the clouds and sun like days have gone by. This is very strong. It seems like he has a lot of power.
Miltons firm is very cold and austere with the architecture. The walls are made of concrete. His office is huge but quite empty. There is just a chair, a desk and a fireplace. Milton also has something with his shoes. They show them as elevator shoes. I think this symbolizes that he thinks that he wants to be as powerful as God and needs to look taller to try to look more powerful. To people he is powerful. He owns a law firm and many buildings in expensive New York. He is able to charm women to do things that they probably would not do. He speaks six different languages. He also seems to know everyone and knows everything about everyone.
He does not change at all during the movie. He is pure evil, he is a liar, and he is the devil. The reason why his character seems to change is that the truth comes out that he is Satan. Milton becomes a mentor for Kevin. He takes Kevin under his wing and showing him the ropes of getting around New York though the subways. Milton also takes him to bars and sports events. He tempts Kevin with women. Milton and Kevin seem to be good friends. After a while, Mary Ann does not like life in New York. She feels lonely and starts hallucinating amongst others because she wants a baby, and is told she cant have one.
She becomes afraid of the wives of other lawyers in the firm and very uncomfortable. Meanwhile, Kevin is caught up in a triple murder case and has no time to take care of her. All along, Kevin lusts after a certain flirtatious redhead at the firm. Suddenly the firms director Eddie Barzoon is murdered and Miltons big plan starts falling into place. Mary Ann goes insane and is placed in a mental hospital after she sees demons. Kevin’s religious mother tells him who really impregnated her as a 16-year old. It turns out to be the man as powerful as the Devil himself, Milton.
Milton then confronts Kevin for a perverse plan to create an Anti Christ in the climax ending. Kevin refuses by shooting himself in the head. As the devil doesnt get what he planned, and goes into fits of rage, Kevin is suddenly shown back in Gainesville continuing the first case. He refuses to continue defending the man. Kevins vanity in his New York life vision gave him a conscience to choose the right thing in the midst of the forces of the Devil and his plan. The key ethical issue in this movie is whether to do the right thing or do what you are supposed to do. This issue first comes up when Kevin is the lawyer for the child molester.
Kevin sees that the defendant is getting aroused and starts to masturbate when the girl on the witness stand is telling how she was molested. Kevin had to make a choice right there. After staring into the mirror in the bathroom deciding whether he must go forward and be a professional or he can do the right thing and resign from the trial. He is confronted with this again when he is in New York and his wife is feeling the loneliness of the city and need for more in her life. Kevin has the option of quitting the triple homicide trial and care for his wife or sticking with his trial and winning.
He chooses to stay with the trial. He sees this underlying issue again in the murder trial. He finds out that Alexander Cullen, played by Craig T. Nelson, is lying to him. He finds out that the woman who Alex says he is sleeping with is lying about the affair. This is Alexs alibi during the murder. Kevin knows that Alex killed those people. Kevin goes for the win. He puts the mistress on the stand and allows her to lie to get Alex off the hook. Kevins final run in with this ethical choice is at the very end when his personality is changed by the death of his wife and the identification of his father (Al Pacino).
He finds out that his father is Satan. Milton wants Kevin and his half sister to produce a child to produce the Antichrist. Producing this child would end any good in the world. He has a choice: produce a child with his half sister to see destruction of the good world, or kill himself and save the world. He chooses to kill himself. Kevin changes his ethical personality during this movie from, do your job to win at all costs to do your job to win but not at the expense of your humanity. I think that the message of the filmmaker is that there are choices that we make concerning everyday.
We might be able to make unethical choice but maybe making the right choices. He is saying that you might not have to pay for your choices now but sometime down the road you are going to have to. I think that the title of the movie has a lot of meaning. The Devils Advocate has a meaning all to itself. In business it is a person that goes against the group thought. He tries to get the get the group from getting groupthink (a stagnant cohesion of thinkers). Kevin was the devils advocate in his trials.
Everyone knew that his defendants were dirty and bad people, but got them to think about how they were innocent of the crime they were under persecution of. Websters Dictionary says an advocate is one that argues for a cause, one that pleads in anothers behalf, a lawyer. During the Jewish Apocalyptic movement Satan went from Gods public prosecutor to an independent adversary. This sounds like what Kevin did. He was an Assistance District Attorney with a 64:0 record and then went to work for the scum of the earth. Like father, like son.