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The Cast of 'The Devil's Advocate'... 25 Years Later

The Devil's Advocate is a horror fantasy thriller and courtroom drama starring Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron and Al Pacino. Following the shooting star trajectory of Kevin Lomax, a hot shot attorney gets headhunted by a big international law firm in New York where the shadowy founding partner wants much more than his inability to lose a case.

The Cast of the Devil's Advocate - 25 Years Later

Released in 1997, it's quite fascinating to watch the movie a quarter of a century later. Living in an age where people tend to invest any time saved from productivity tools back into work, the themes of The Devil's Advocate still resound. This precarious balance between work and play, career and marriage as well as pride and humility makes this horror thriller more relevant than ever.

While the visual effects are used sparingly, they haven't aged particularly well. Luckily, the film's strange darkly comic undertone softens this somewhat. Consider the "used car salesman" quip from Al Pacino to cue 'Paint It, Black' by The Rolling Stones with the closing credits. Taking place in another paradigm gives it license to bend the confines of reality and the twisty ending signals a thought-provoking and tragic damned if you do/damned if you don't sentiment.

The Devil's Advocate is not a great film but its a surprisingly stellar and enjoyable watch. Stylistic, mysterious and touching on timely issues with thoughtful character interplay, it remains entertaining - trading on some big twists to power home. The undercurrent of sleaze makes sense in a world of constant temptation, so there aren't any surprise there, but the battle for a promising young lawyer's soul does strike at the heart of workplace ethics and family values.

Keanu Reeves

At the time of its release, Keanu Reeves had nothing to do with The Matrix. Known for his roles in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures, the versatile actor was on the rise with hits like Point Break and gathering momentum with roles in films such as Much Ado About Nothing and Speed.

Reeves has had a more recent renaissance with John Wick but The Devil's Advocate came about at a time when the young actor was still becoming a leading actor and force in Hollywood. It's a typically reflective performance from Keanu, who manages to carry the role as Kevin Lomax with energy and flair but not inhabiting it so strongly as to be anchored by it. While Reeves never quite wrangles the Gainesville accent, his intensity and panache do enough to keep things on the burn. It would have been interesting to see how casting A Time to Kill's Matthew McConaughey would have changed things.

Charlize Theron

The Devil's Advocate was released in the same year as Dharma & Greg. One can only imagine this was a coincidence or inspiration that there's an episode where Greg has to sport a sketchy Southern drawl to impress a judge alongside his flower child wife, Dharma. If Reeves is the straight arrow as Greg, his Dharma is Charlize Theron who comes to take on an attention-grabbing breakthrough performance.

At age 22, Theron was only starting to become a film icon at the time of landing the part of Mary Ann Lomax. She modeled before and after a knee injury at a New York ballet academy ultimately sent her on to become a star in Hollywood. Having featured in That Thing You Do and stolen scenes left, right and centre with a supporting role in Trial and Error, The Devil's Advocate was a big step up for the budding actor. While her Southern twang fluctuates as dramatically as her character's growing paranoia, this star-making role showcased the South African beauty, her complete commitment to the craft with a full range performance.

Often outplaying Reeves in a challenging role about the disintegration of a marriage, the two remained on friendly enough terms to rekindle their on-screen chemistry for a similar dynamic about a workaholic in Sweet November.

Al Pacino

There's an intensity to Al Pacino that makes him gravitate towards crime drama with his most memorable turns in Serpico, The Godfather and Dog Day Afternoon. Having made a name for himself in this subgenre, it's quite incredible that his first collaboration with another stalwart in Martin Scorsese only happened recently in The Irishman.

Taking place several years after Wall Street and The Firm, The Devil's Advocate has aspects from both movies in creating an atmosphere where an evil mentor and oppressive legal firm fight for a man's soul. The Devil's Advocate is much more pronounced, swathing the familiar trappings of these stories in the fantasy horror genre to offer one of the more contemplative and smart horrors of the '90s.

The role of John Milton is a tricky balancing act, requiring the actor to be level-headed enough not to let the proverbial cat out of the bag too soon. The title and movie poster are a dead giveaway, but the degree to which the idiom is embraced becomes the film's hook as things progressively get worse. Luckily director Taylor Hackford had the presence of mind not to give Pacino a set of prosthetic horns, using a roaring fire and transformative mural in his office to give audiences the idea that what's happening is not just in Kevin and Mary Ann's mind.

Pacino is informed by his famed role as Tony Montana in Scarface. Instead of losing his mind in a drug-riddled inferno only to go down in a blaze of glory, he opts to literally command the inferno as a battle of free will plays out. Uses his demons and sirens to tempt or trick Kevin into infidelity, The Devil's Advocate comes to centre on vanity as Lomax has to choose between career and family.