When I first saw Devil’s Advocate I was impressed. Not too much horror to make me bite my fingernails, enough intrigue to make me hang on to the story, and a perfect mix of brilliant writing and direction. Reeves is, like w/ most of his work, a mediocre actor that’s just hard to dislike. Theron is luscious to look at and listen to in a pre-surgery way. Pacino, on the other hand, truly carries this film and he does so as any genius serpent wallowing around the tree of knowledge would. That’s what always brings me back to this film. That is, over the passed year or so, while breezing thru my movie library when I know I’m not going to watch a whole film (on account of other worst-writing constraints), I call up films and skip through to the money-shots, i.e. moments of dialogue/writing that downright thrill me. I do this a lot w/ films like Casablanca, almost anything Woody Allen, Monty Python, etc. In this particular film all I ever re-watch is the dialogue w/ Pacino, the Devil incarnate. Below a small example. The underestimating scene.
KEVIN: I figure you came to court to make sure I didn’t fuck this up.
MILTON: Maybe I did. But don’t get too cocky. No matter how good you are. Don’t let them see you coming. That’s the gaff, my friend — make yourself small. Be the hick. The cripple. The nerd. The leper. The shit-kicking surfer. Look at me — I’ve been underestimated from day one. Do I look like a master of the universe? That’s your only weakness as far as I can tell.
KEVIN: What’s that?
MILTON: The look. The Florida stud thing. (Southern accent.) ‘Scuse me, ma’am, did I leave my boots under your bed?’
KEVIN: Never worked a jury didn’t have a woman.
MILTON: You know what you’re missing? What I have? This beautiful girl she’s just fucked me every way she knows how — we’re done — she’s walking to the bathroom — she turns back — and there I am. It’s me. And she smiles — it’s like a veil coming down across her face — and that smile, that’s a question mark, because she’s looking at me, she’s wondering, how did that happen? And see, right there, from that moment on, she’s got a secret. I’m the hand up Mona Lisa’s skirt. I’m the whisper in Nefertitti’s ear. I’m a surprise. They never see me coming. That’s what your missing.
While we’re at it, dear worst-reader, let’s throw in one more for fun. This short piece of writing genius is rivalled only by Burroughs (when it comes to writing about that whole god thing.)
MILTON: 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. Ahaha. And while you’re jumpin’ from one foot to the next, what is he doing? He’s laughin’ His sick, fuckin’ ass off! He’s a tight-ass! He’s a SADIST! He’s an absentee landlord! Worship that? NEVER!
(Devil’s Advocate Screenplay by Jonathan Lemkin and Tony Gilroy)
Yeah, baby. Great writing. Great movie.
Rant on. -Tommi