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Playing The Expression
on 3 January 2005
Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) is a success in the courtroom and out of it. He's a young Florida defense attorney who has never lost a case. No matter how repugnant the crime, no matter how guilty the defendant, Kevin Lomax has the power to mesmerize the jury into accepting his arguments, buying into his logic, being convinced by his charisma; and freeing his clients. Soon after he has successfully won the case, where he defended an obviously guilty child molester, Lomax is invited to New York, where a powerful law firm has become aware of the Florida hotshot's acquittal record. Here he meets John Milton (Al Pacino), the founder and head of "Milton, Chadewick, Waters", a mysterious and powerful law firm with contacts and clients all over the world. It is this charismatic and charming man that opens the door to a completely different world; a world of luxury and pleasure, wealth and power; a world of endless possibilities. This is heaven on earth. But as Lomax tastes the power of being a wealthy New York attorney, something in him changes. Winning is no longer just a goal; it becomes an obsession. Soon he starts to realize that things are not what they seem to be; and all the things he once had and cared about -a happy marriage with Mary Ann (Charlize Theron), his relationship with his mother, all his happiness - everything disappear amidst the sparkling illusion of paradise. He suddenly realizes that Heaven and Hell can co-exist at the same place and at the same time.
I do not intend to reveal anything else since all of the interesting surprises will be presented in the intense and inspiring climax. This is probably Reeves' best performance. He manages to create a believable character - a kind of example, a role model for the American way of life. Kevin's wife, Mary Ann, is most likely the hardest character to play, since she goes through a complex and difficult emotional evolution. From being strong, devoted and ambitious (a female copy of her husband) to vulnerable, hurt and on the verge of madness. Charlize Theron gracefully floats into this character. The most interesting of performances and characters is John Milton - the essence of Kevin Lomax's temptation. Al Pacino is nothing less than astonishing, an award worthy performance that is as good as anything seen this year.
An inspiring thriller, visually stunning as well as thought provoking, 'The Devil's Advocate' should be viewed with an open mind.