The Devil’s Advocate uses Christian mythological images to convey very conservative opinions that must have been way less conspicuous when it was released 21 years ago in 1997.
Yesterday I watched The Devil’s Advocate, a 1997 movie starring Keanu Reeves as a young brilliant up-and-coming Florida lawyer, Charlize Theron as his wife and Al Pacino as the literal Devil who hires Reeves in his high-profile law firm in New York.
The premise sounded interesting to me, but the developments show a clear conservative bias. It is always a risk with a Christianity-themed movie, but Constantine (2005), another movie with Reeves and Satan, managed to avoid this pitfall.
Here’s the reasons that lead me to this assertion:
- An illegitimate kid born out of wedlock from a rape is revealed to be Satan’s son.
- Wealthy housewives are frivolous and monstrous demons.
- The attractive red-haired woman is revealed to be Satan’s daughter.
- Muslim and Voodoo rituals are associated with the very Christian Devil.
- NYC’s diversity is compared to biblical Babylon.
- The NYC subway is depicted as arcane and sneaky as Satan only use it to go around the city instead of taxis. (???)
- Homosexuality is depicted as demonic.
- Homeless people are violent monstrous demons.
- The “right” thing to do when defending someone you know is guilty is to stop representing them. (!!!)
- Ultimately, even after a crisis of conscience Reeves can’t escape his very sinful nature.
There are other themes that are associated with Satan like anger, lust, incest, greed and vanity, but they aren’t nearly as morally debatable as the items I mentioned above.
And like I wrote earlier, merely depicting demons and the Devil himself isn’t enough to make a movie’s political tone lean one way or another. There is a deliberate traditionalist tone in this movie that consequently hasn’t aged well.