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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Another IMDB/TLB Prime association - rife with sarcastic wit, again! You've been forewarned...

SPOILERS! SPOILERS! You've been warned! This is an official SPOILERS ALERT! (As it is required to do so on!)

One had to expect only the most memorable results from an association between Taurus Films and Warner Bros. - and as much as I disagree with many elements of the end product, 1997's The Devil's Advocate certainly is that; memorable...

I lament the fact though that, like quite a few other similar offerings, it offered only the most violent and repulsive resolution as a possible means of triumph over evil. I guess that they catered to the most obvious common denominator in doing so, and since almost everyone out there would take the easy way out if they were faced with the Adversary himself, they thought that it was the way "to go" - literally... Also, quite obviously, almost everyone else out there is self-loathing to the extreme, so double the reason right there to go this route, I suppose.

Neiderman's novel, which served as the basis for this one, was itself inspired by various other opuses, it is evident, as the movie itself is reminiscent of previous fare in the same genre as well...

I also lamented the choice of name for the alleged son of the devil. I mean, in other similarly-themed films, the names were much more inspired, I always thought... Rosemary's Baby was named Adrian. The Omen films had, of course, Damien. Here, the Devil's Advocate is named... Kevin?!? How pathetically mundane and down to the lowest-common denominator have we gotten! And this be the first family of Gehenna? Sheesh... I wouldn't name my DOG "Kevin" - the worst pro-wrestler name EVER remains "Kevin Nash", once he was stuck to wear it as the WWE would not allow him to use the copyrighted name with which he shot to fame there when he returned to WCW around... that same year of 1997 incidentally! Hmm - synchronicity! Anyway... Nash had used a plethora of fake names, such as "Vinnie Vegas", "Big Daddy Cool", "Diesel" and even "Oz", instead of using his true name for a very good reason - and that reason was that he knew his real name was lame, extremely common (to the point of being boring) and that it would assuredly suck on a marquee! And here, the Devil's Advocate, meant to be this huge "winner" whose vanity procludes him from ever losing a court case, this guy is a "Kevin"?!? Puh-leeeeeeeeeeeeeeze... The mere fact that Kevin rhymes with Adrian and Damien (while being more than "innocuous" - it is downright anonymous and verily a "no-name"!) is simply not enough at all here; for, the devil is not a rhymer! That is another silly bit of fluff, indeed, that silly notion that has some believe that the devil must be a poet...! The devil is the prince of lies - not the prince of poetry! But I've digressed enough, I think...

Having exposed all that, I knew not, back then, all that many Kevins - as well as I do now! Another pro-wrestler (Kevin Sullivan, namely) and a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (Kevin T.) among others have indeed convinced me that a son of the devil could surely be named "Kevin" after all - as unglamourous as it might be and all...! The latter Kevin especially is a major a-hole, a hypocrite, a heartless bastard and a son of a b!tch - all basic qualities any son of the devil has to have, I am certain of it!

The character portrayed by Keanu Reeves in The Devil's Advocate though is nothing like that, of course. He has a conscience, at least. He is redeemable. He has major flaws, but the fact remains that he is basically "sympatico" - and the moviegoer, back in 1997 as the film buff today seeing this for the first time, will be rooting for him. All the more reason to find the resolution of all this deplorable. Just as was the case for "Fallen", with Denzel Washington. Is there no other way to vanquish the devil than through SUICIDE?!? That makes no sense at all, if you ask me! To be fair, it is not exclusively a movie maker's sin of recent times - it goes all the way back to the silent film version of Faust, of course, where the title character apparently "redeems himself" by throwing himself into a bonfire basically! His beloved had been falsely accused of witchcraft and was, as it was customary in those golden days of old, condemned to burn at the stake. Faust, in a fit of unconditional love that boggles the mind, throws himself into the fire to save her - and, really, die with her. An angel informs the devil then that he lost - for the noblest of sentiments spurred Faust to the extreme sacrifice... LOVE! And the devil plies in two, in obvious agony over having lost a soul he had in ITS grasp... and THE END! What is seriously wrong with this picture is that I see not how suicide could break a pact made with the devil, even if said act of auto-termination is motivated by LOVE! In "Fallen", Denzel is trying to stop an evil entity by killing himself - that would be a "borderline case of acceptable suicide", which means "forgiveable by God"... And still, it is not 100% sure at all! We didn't see Barbara Hershey -back in 1981- deal with her molesting Entity by killing herself, mercifully... Maybe it has to do with the fact that her movie's story was based on a *real-life story*... But I digress once more...

Not one but TWO suicides mar "The Devil's Advocate" - first, the poor MaryAnn, portrayed magnificently by Charlize Theron (between this and being "The Astronaut's Wife", she really doesn't know how to pick'em! May have been why she turned into a Monster afterwards...?)
And then the title character himself (it still feels awful to call any lead character "Kevin" - let's say Keanu instead! Darn - that sounds odd too... Not as much though! At least, this isn't a Bill & Ted feature... *Whew*!).
And it is not quite acceptable to wipe everything off at the end and still have the mandatory "happy ending" - complete with EVIL STILL LURKS AND IS MOST DEFINITELY NOT DEFEATED AT ALL after taste - after TWO GRUESOME SUICIDE SCENES! At least, "Fallen" was not so hypocritical and stuck with its "very unhappy ending" - for pure logic's sake! Both films err in the same manner anyway though - to pretend that the only way to elude an opponent such as the ultimate Adversary (no, it isn't Death! Death is, in many ways, either but a tool or even a friend...!) is through auto-destruction and nothing else is simply the WRONG MESSAGE TO SEND... There's no either way to battle the devil in Tinseltown? In real life there are plenty: crucifixes, holy water, prayer! Alas, none of these are regular props in these flicks... Lots of kiddies watch these films, you know! Hollywood has to be more careful with this sort of thing... They want not to spread such things as "piousness" and "faith" now...! We dare not offend nor alienate all the other beliefs now...! As it already the case, only the sun will destroy vampires - lest we make them vulnerable to ALL symbols of ALL religions, we make them invulnerable to all and do not even broach the subject anymore! Alas, the first bloodsucker, Dracula (or Polidori's character that prefigured Drac...) were NOT vulnerable to the sunlight but were vulnerable to other things... Guess what it was now!

No heroes should simply escape the conflict by blowing themselves up... Hopefully, Jack Sparrow never considered eluding Davy Jones' Locker Room by offing himself too now! Surely not; it is a Disney movie and they want another sequel anyway!

I know that I lauded Al Pacino's performance in Carlito's Way - but, here, I shall remain silent about his histrionics as "the devil"...

It is amusing though to note that both "Fallen" and "The Devil's Advocate" (as also "Interview With A Vampire", of course) had a Rolling Stones song playing as they finally rolled the end credits... Sexagenarian, sex-obsessed rock'n'rollers who are STILL going strong; they must have indeed struck a deal with the devil (but they're not vampires - no) - hence the music fits on more than one level here!

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