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The Devil’s Advocate Hidden Messages.

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Today, I want to write about one of my favorite films, The Devil’s Advocate ( 1997). It is a pretty famous picture that mixes legal and occult thrillers with a shocking ending. Every time I watch this movie, I have new insights and questions in my head. 

If you have more questions than answers after watching this tape, my article is for you. Let me help you find the hidden meaning of The Devil’s Advocate and explain how I understood its ending.

The mystical thriller released in 1997, tells the story of young lawyer Kevin Lomax, who confidently makes his way to success. The main character takes on complex criminal cases and wins them. The catch is that from the first minutes, the viewer understands: Lomax knows for sure that the school teacher is guilty of attempted rape. This fact does not stop Kevin; he gathers his will and wins the case, after which he receives a job offer at the large law firm of John Milton in New York. From then on, his family’s life will no longer be the same.

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The Devil’s Advocate characters.

Kevin Lomax.

Let me start with an important point: the main character is a bad person. In the beginning, Kevin Lomax appears before us in court; he is, in his way, brilliant and artistic. The audience tends to have a positive attitude towards him – the lawyer has a good appearance and a stylish suit. And so we immediately lose sight of the fact that Kevin is deliberately protecting the aggressor. From the dialogue with the journalist, one can understand that this is not the first such case; by getting murderers and child abusers out of prison, he makes a career.

In the court’s restroom at the beginning, Kevin is angry not because his client is guilty but because the trial has become more complicated, and his first defeat is looming. Kevin has long made a deal with his conscience; he wants to be handsome and a winner.

You can also almost immediately understand that Kevin is not a completely mature person. Journalist Larry provokes him – Are you going to lose for the first time? Not everyone can win forever. Larry is playing chicken with Kevin. However, only a weak person can fail in this game because he must repeatedly prove his strength. The former chain of victories now hunts to Kevin; losing is even worse.

I note that Kevin’s main ally, his wife, understands perfectly well that this is dirty money but offers Kevin a drink immediately after the trial. Metaphorically, it sounds like this: let’s drink at a bar and turn off our brains!  

Finding himself in a large society, where Kevin is invited to a mega-cool job with a lot of money and status, he stops relying on common sense. His ambitions and dependence on the image he created in his eyes become his trap. Kevin tries his best to prove to the first senior figure that he comes across as cool and worthy of being proud of him. The search for the approval of a potential “father” becomes more important than all the life values on which he previously relied. And John Milton easily plays with his ambition and vanity for his purposes.

Trying to justify a murderer is the apogee of loss of self-respect. Milton jokes with Kevin – Are you chickening out or not? But Kevin can’t say: I don’t play such games, and my wife and I are going home. Our hero does not know how to say no and take real responsibility. Kevin did not become a psychologically mature adult, and we will discuss this when I describe his relationship with his mother. 

the devil's advocate explained
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The film also explores another deadly sin – lust. Al Pacino’s hero does not hide the fact that he can get any girl if he wants it. He openly talks with the young lawyer about sexual topics, after which he gently and unobtrusively pushes the hero in the right direction.

From the first day in the new office, Kevin meets Christabella, a successful and gorgeous red-haired girl. Throughout the story, he sees her in seductive outfits, and at some point, he even sees her during sex with his wife. Again, it’s a question of choice: to succumb to momentary weakness and betray your wife or to start solving family difficulties?

Have you noticed that Mary Ann has become a stranger to Kevin with the new haircut? With her blond curls, Christabelle reminds Kevin more and more of his wife before the move.

And Christabella’s flirting with Kevin on the veranda at the party is just another point in the devil’s plan. The beauty cast her nets, playing on sexual instinct, and the lawyer got there firmly.

The Devil asks, “Kevin, why do you need this hysterical loser with an ugly hairstyle? Keep the sexy redheaded beast. It’s possible to have a threesome with an Asian girl.” Kevin is possessed by something metaphysically tangible but inexplicable. After a certain point, he can no longer resist, as it seems, and the boss also adds fuel to the fire of iniquity with his endless boastful stories about lovemaking. Kevin finds it difficult to distinguish Mary Ann from her colleague Christabella in a passionate outburst. And he will not believe his wife, who is driven to spiritual exhaustion by Milton’s passions.

Lust, money, and passion rule humanity; it takes enormous willpower to refuse such gifts. They fill the ego of a young lawyer. It is a very typical image of a man of the 21st century who has remained outside the boundaries of morality.

the devil's advocate explained
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Mary Ann.

I heard the opinion that Mary Ann is Kevin’s conscience come to life because it was she who began to say that they took blood money.

But in the beginning, this conscience slept well in an embrace with a bottle of alcohol. Let’s remember how the hero’s wife got the whole company drunk after winning the case. She always encouraged him to win difficult cases. At the end of the film, when Kevin has a chance to start over, she will definitely seduce him into a fateful interview.

The family’s social and economic status changes dramatically when Kevin takes an unexpected career leap. The need to work disappears for his wife, Mary Ann, who worked intensively throughout her adult life with great wealth. It is, to put it mildly, unusual for her. Along with improving life, the “existential hole” is exposed. Fiction and life are replete with such examples. In the absence of work, Mary Ann experiences severe “weekend syndrome.

She tries to plug the void with perfectionism by renovating her apartment, shopping, drinking, communicating with women of her social status, demanding more attention from her husband, and throwing scandals. Her infantile position and dependence on other people’s admiration and approval played a cruel “joke” on her. From an excess of idleness and aggression, she developed a neurosis and desire to have a baby.

It is common when a couple in a bad relationship begins to hope that the birth of a child will definitely fix everything. It is a big surprise to them that with the advent of a new family member, nothing improved on its own. 

Our heroes were lucky, and they had not encountered this facet of family life. Kevin was already fantasizing about another woman, even flirting with her. It’s not difficult to imagine what their life together would have turned into just a few months later, even before the child’s birth.

Mary Ann begins to think that she is infertile. She reports that she was diagnosed with this by a doctor. But the matter is dark because we didn’t see the doctor. And this pushes Mary Ann to the next, steeper step…

I want to note that in the film, Kevin is shown to be very superficial and frivolous in his relationships with women. For example, he promised his wife that he would not leave her alone at a party and immediately ran to look for a new acquaintance. In turn, Mary Ann sat half the night in the kitchen with a bottle of wine only to tell Kevin that she was unhappy and that he was sleeping in the living room on the sofa.

Naturally, a lawyer’s wife quickly becomes a capricious, demanding, grumpy woman, and the new woman feels it. The devil is already interested in Marie Anne. Well, why waste good things in vain, right? Moreover, they still live in the same house. 

But in the end, we no longer trust Mary Ann’s words, to put it mildly. Kevin doesn’t trust them either…

mrs. alice lomax
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Mrs. Alice Lomax.

Oh, this is my favorite character and one of the most multifaceted. The director most likely wanted to show an ordinary, pious mother, but he ended up with a very toxic image.

Kevin’s mom seems nice but always blames her son and makes him make excuses. She blames him for going to New York and leaving his mother, for having a lousy wife, and in general, why he isn’t in the church on Sunday.

The mother throws a hook – and Kevin makes excuses like a child.

At the same time, Mom wants to be smarter and quotes a passage from the Bible about Babylon. The Holy Scripture in the mother’s head is a tool of manipulation. But trained Kevin knows the scripture, too; he continues the quote. For him, these are just words without meaning. It is a so-so inspiration from a loving mother for a child to go on an important trip. 

Moreover, his mother and wife don’t like each other so much that they don’t even say hello this time. Already in the car, the couple thinks they need to calm down the mother to give birth to a grandson. Kevin clearly lives in a position of victim in front of this holy woman who raised him alone and gave him everything. I think we have a couple of such mothers around us, unfortunately.

Approximately in the middle of the movie, when the situation begins to heat up, the mother comes to visit her son.  When Kevin gets ready for work the following day, she says she is going home. She made such a journey for one evening in New York and communicated this decision to her son five minutes before he went to work. 

This scene may seem quite acceptable if you don’t consider that the mother again wants to blame her son. She’s waiting for Kevin to start apologizing and inviting her to stay; this isn’t a healthy relationship between mother and son.

Kevin’s mother’s last very important confession is that Milton is Kevin’s father. She begins by reproaching Kevin for not letting her finish in the elevator. Not only did the adult pious woman deceive her son for many years, but she shifted the blame onto him in the most serious conversation.

By the way, the mother threw a tantrum because Milton tracked down Kevin as if she had set herself the goal of having a son only for herself. Although it’s great that the father has begun to communicate with his lost son, We don’t take into account that his father is the devil.  So his mom says: Stay with me, we can leave. In other words, Kevin, be only mine, or you will upset your mother.

Kevin separate from your mother.

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John Milton.

Al Pacino, in the role of the Lord of Hell, is organic and natural and seems to be playing the incarnate charm of vice. But there are some nuances. Al Pacino’s Devil doesn’t wear Prada or sport a fancy cane. He is a democratic devil who loves to ride the subway and blend in with the crowd. Milton is insinuating, subtle, and eloquent. “Killing with kindness is our secret,” he says with a smile in one of his first monologues. “I am a humanist, perhaps the last one on Earth,” he says in the final monologue and seems to believe himself.

He really seems to love people, like a little child loves his toys. But he also destroys people with the same ease with which a child tears off the head of a doll. The same hand fearlessly sweeps the old sinner Eddie Barzun and the gentle Mary Ann off the board in the film. Both characters accidentally hinder the implementation of Milton’s plans and pay with their lives. And if a child can feel sorry for a headless doll, then a chess player will never cry for a lost piece – a game is a game.

You may ask: Why did Satan, who settled on Earth, undertake to manage a law practice? Towards the end of the film, Al Pacino’s character partly answers the unasked question: They say every unjustly won case and every triumphant acquittal of the guilty shakes the throne of the Almighty, and someday, the throne will collapse.

Also, all the dilemmas posed by Milton are false. Do you want to be rich or not? Do you want a beautiful woman instead of a hysterical wife or not? Do you want to become more successful than everyone else and attract my attention? Even in the film’s most important choice – when Kevin is asked to give up the acquittal of an apparent murderer and go to his wife – Milton specifically persuades Kevin to do the right thing, but this is nothing more than another mockery.

Lomax’s suicide led to the collapse of the devil’s plan to rule the world by arranging the conception of his grandson, the Antichrist. The devil’s daughter turns into a mummy. The devil himself loses his costume and the appearance of a respectable gentleman aged and takes on his real appearance—a fallen angel. Thus, his hypocrisy with the prospect of world domination ends.

Milton is the only character from whom you expect bad things and are not disappointed. While Kevin can end his career as a lawyer, Milton cannot end his career as a devil.

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TheDdevil’s Advocate movie explained.

Oh, this is already quite a long post, but I still have something left to tell you. Undoubtedly, the film The Devil’s Advocate is multi-layered; everyone can see something meaningful for themselves. I’ll try to systematize (no word)

The film reveals relevant topics for our time. Such as:

  • Repeating mistakes, people do not learn from mistakes
  •  Fleeting success can be dangerous.
  • Relationship problems, the problem of loneliness in the family
  • Mother and son problems and separation
  • The problem of conscience, duty, or conscience? 
  • American dream
  • The problem of pride and vanity
  • Lack of psychological maturity in adults

Without a doubt, the film’s main idea is the problem of making daily decisions that affect the rest of your life. Nothing is accidental. Every situation that arises is a consequence of a previously made choice. 

The film exposes human vices and shows that not all people are without sin. The only question is how far a person is willing to go, whether he is willing to pay with the lives and health of loved ones to satisfy his egocentrism.

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Kevin commits suicide, realizing that this will ruin his father’s plans. It is how he punishes Milton. The father, of course, suffers significantly from such an unexpected act in Kevin’s fantasies. 

Unfortunately, until the end, Kevin considers himself a victim of circumstances, and in the end, he is shown as a superhero. Later Kevin faces a new temptation, which he is not yet ready for. But whether he will cope with it is up to us to guess.

Don’t forget the devil is among us.


The Box Movie Explained. Who Will Die?

the devil's advocate explained
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Final words.

After watching this picture, I would guess that you will reach for the prayer book and then be afraid of your actions and maybe even your dreams. Also, this movie will make you think about God and the decisions you make in your life.

Do you like The Devil`s Advocate? Was there anything interesting in my review for you? Or something you disagree with me?

Share this blog post if you enjoyed it. I would really appreciate it! 

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I`m in love with movies and psychology. Here I write how we can use movies for healing and self-growth. Also, be sure to check out my movie lists. You will find cool suggestions for movie night.

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  • Your take on “The Devil’s Advocate” offers interesting insights into the characters and themes. Exploring Kevin Lomax’s moral journey and John Milton’s manipulation adds depth. Your thoughts on human flaws and consequences are thought-provoking. Great analysis!

  • This was a great movie and one that I actually saw. It’s funny at how sometimes we see it one or two more times and we see things that we didn’t see before. I love your in depth explanation and intrigued now to watch this movie once more!

  • I saw this movie many, many years ago. I was much younger so I didn’t quite see all of the elements of it quite like this. I appreciate your in-depth review of the movie, and I now think I need to see it again.

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts on “The Devil’s Advocate”! It’s fascinating how a film can delve into such deep and thought-provoking topics as faith, morality, and the consequences of our choices. I can see why you would recommend it to others.

  • I’ve never seen the movie The Devil’s Advocate, but it sounds like a super interesting watch. Definitely something I’m adding to my movie list!

  • Oh wow, I didn’t think people would remember this movie and thanks for sharing about it! I do remember how Keanu did a great job and I would love to re-watch it some day this weekend 🙂

  • Your post made me want to watch this movie again. It’s been over 15 years since I watched it. Honestly, I barely remember it all. Thank you for sharing your explanation and thoughts about the film.

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I`m in love with movies and psychology. Here I write how we can use movies for healing and self-growth. Also, be sure to check out my movie lists. You will find cool suggestions for movie night.

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