The Devil’s Advocate

The Devil’s Advocate

This week’s request comes courtesy of Alyssa. We’re revisiting this 90’s era mainstream thriller, starring Al Pacino and a pre-Matrix Keanu Reeves. Everything you need to know is in the title.

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The Devil’s Advocate (1997)

Episode 210, 2 Guys and a Chainsaaw

Todd: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd

Craig: and I’m Craig.

Todd: So Craig and I have decided it’s about time to go back to our request list and fulfill some long standing requests that are in our queue. We certainly don’t want to disappoint any of our. Regular steady listeners, as well as our new listeners. And this week’s movie comes requested by a long-standing listener who has asked us three times to do The Devil’s Advocate, the 1997 film, starring Al Pacino and the inevitable Keanu Reeves.

Now I think I saw this movie in the. The theater, when it came out, I might be mistaken, but I do remember being in college, pretty sure going to see it, going to the theater to see this. And this was just, I think one year, maybe two before it was one year before matrix, two years before matrix. And that changed everything.

Keanu Reeves. For all of us. So he’s in this movie out, she knows in this movie, it apparently took quite a bit of convincing to get him in this movie. I think he was shown the script like five times and after a whole bunch of rewrites, he decided that it wasn’t as cliche as it first was for him to play the devil.

Surprise The Devil’s Advocate. The devil, I tell you, I mean, you know, I said this like two weeks ago, you go into a movie and you kind of have seen the previews, you know, the title, you sort of know what it’s about in many cases before you even go in and this movie, I feel like really banks on that fact.

Um, they’re not trying to hide it. Part of the joy of this movie really is, is knowing that you’re in for this sort of fasty and story. And so therefore you’re looking for those little touches, those little delicious, like Hanson and gags that are throughout the film and it does deliver those. So that’s what I enjoyed about watching this movie.

I remember really enjoying it when I first saw it coming back into it. The second time I actually enjoyed it too, but I have to say. It was a little long, little long. Thanks, Alyssa. You know, I don’t know if you did this on purpose, but if you’ve been a long-standing listener of our podcast, you don’t Craig and I are not huge fans of really long movies.

It’s not like we have busy social lives or anything. I think we just don’t want to sit through a story for more than an hour and a half. This is two and a half hours of story. So it’ll be interesting for us to talk about, um, how this, both of us to talk about how this affected us. All right. So that’s my history with this movie, Craig, how about you?

Yeah, I don’t

Craig: remember when I saw it, but it had to be soon after it came out, it came out what in 97. And that was the year that I graduated high school and I remember owning it in college. Probably on VHS. I don’t remember. We watched it, uh, quite a bit. I, I remember liking it a lot. It was a movie that my partner and I both enjoyed and we watched quite a bit, but it had been a really, really long time since I had seen it.

And I kind of had it in my mind that it wasn’t going to be as good as I remembered it being, but I was actually kind of surprised. I, I think it holds up pretty well. It’s not perfect. And there are definitely some. Things that we can chuckle about. Uh, but I still enjoyed it. And frankly, when I didn’t remember it being two and a half hours long either.

And when I saw that I’m like, seriously, but for me it really didn’t feel that long. No. Yeah, this story is a pretty engaging and it moves. I watched it by myself. Uh, and then last night I was talking about it with my partner and I said, it’s, it’s kind of weird that it’s two and a half hours long, because really not all that much happens.

You could, you could, you know, summarize the plot probably in a minute. Like not. A whole lot. I mean, I guess that’s not really fair, I guess a lot does happen, but it’s all one pretty simple trajectory from beginning to end. Interesting things to look at some interesting performances. One of my favorite things about this is, uh, that it’s one of.

Charlise Theron’s early role. She was only 21 when this movie filmed and she looks great. It’s obvious that in the decades that have followed, she has really improved in her craft. That’s not to say that she’s bad in this movie because she’s not, she just, uh, seems a little bit wet behind the years, but so that’s interesting outfit, Chino, I think, is really charismatic and interesting in this movie.

Kiana Reeves.

Todd: He’s okay. I guess it’s okay. All right. Let me, let me put this out there. All right. I do not join the throngs and crowds of people that say Keanu Reeves is just this horrible actor. I think he’s a perfectly fine actor. Is he the best? Is he gonna win? And you know, I mean, no, but he ends up getting cast in roles that he’s.

Quite well suited for, you know, you look at bill and Ted, you look at the majorists, you look at this, especially you look at this and you look at the matrix in these movies, he plays these kind of blank slate kind of guys, right? You can’t fault him for being sort of a blank slate actor. When he’s playing a blank slate sort of guy.

This is a movie, like you said, you can summarize it really quickly. It’s it’s like the firm, except instead of the mafia, it’s. The devil this right, really, really successful lawyer, uh, takes an offer. He can’t refuse from a firm in New York city and everything is wonderful and he’s getting offered a ton of money and everything’s too good to be true.

He never loses a case, blah, blah, blah. And it turns out as we know, from the very beginning of the movie, it’s, it’s not, it’s not a surprise, but it turns out that the lead, the head of this firm is Satan. Satan. So, uh, yeah, and he plays this attorney. Who’s a little amoral, like he’s a lot more interested in winning the cases and not so interested in whether or not his clients.

Are guilty, which is interesting. Um, you know, it starts out with the movie just goes right there. I mean, it starts out with the most unsympathetic defendant and case you could possibly get, right. It’s a child molester is this girl who’s on a stand who’s crying. And she’s describing this teacher who asked her to come to his room.

Office after school and then puts his hand up or dress in her skirt and all kinds of things. And Kiana reads this character. Whose name is Kevin is, is defending this man. He looks over and he sees this guy like sweating, like he’s reliving it. And he’s like, Moving his fingers under the desk and it’s just Uber creepy.

Now it creeps him out and he asks for a recess before the cross-examination and, and he has to run into the bathroom and just like splash cold water on his face and stuff. In that bathroom, he runs into a reporter who’s like never lost a case yet. Ha ha. Well you’re about to meet your first loss basically because he’s like this guy’s totally in defendable, Keanu Reeves.

His character. Kevin takes that as a challenge. And this is his, this is the guy, right. He just knows what it takes to win. He goes back out there and he brutally cast doubt on this girl on the stand while she’s crying in a very blank faced way. It’s clear. He’s just clicked this, the switch in his head, right.

Switched off as morality is kind of a machine just focused on winning this case. You threaten those children. Didn’t you. That’s not

Craig: the weight. Have you told them to lie to falsely claimed that Mr. Gettys had hurt them because if they didn’t go along, you weren’t going to tell everyone about this special party.

So you made up a story, a special story, a story about a math teacher who was tough on you, who kept you after class, a huge hub beast. You didn’t like that’s what really happened. Isn’t it? No,

Todd: he ends up getting this guy off. And they all celebrate afterwards, uh, in the bar, him, um, one of his partners and his wife and his wife, like you said, uh, Charlise the wrong place. Her name is Marianne, and they’re super excited that they won the case. And they’ve blocked the whole notion of the fact that the guy was guilty out of their head.

And as the movie goes on, You realize that they all know this. They’ve just set aside the fact that they often get guilty people off. That’s just his skill. It’s his talent. It’s what he’s good at and what he gets his pride in his job from, which is interesting because it is actually the lawyers job. Yeah.

Public defenders. It doesn’t matter. This is a bedrock of our, of our justice system in the United States that you are entitled to. Defense you are entitled to the best defense you could possibly get their public defenders who are probably slogging in this all day long for very little pay, where they have to defend scummy people, nevertheless, uh, in court and do their best.

So it’s interesting. I think it does set up a very interesting moral quandary. You know, you can laugh and say, well ha ha ha. The evil lawyer. Blah-blah-blah, it’s kind of like a joke, but. In defense of lawyers, this is part of their job, right? They do have to do this. And so it does set up an interesting plot for the film and an interesting character in him.

I don’t fault his performance when he’s flipping that switch at all. I think he’s. Kind of well cast in here, even though, as I will admit in other aspects of the movie where he needs to be a little more down to earth and emotional, he doesn’t quite rise to the challenge.

Craig: Yeah. And that was interesting watching this again, because I don’t know if it’s age or what, but this time around watching it.

I, it was more difficult for me to sympathize with his character and even, you know, uh, Charlise Theron is very beautiful and she’s very dewy eyed. And once Kevin, her husband, um, starts to see, you know, they’re, they’re, they live in Gainesville, Florida, which is presented as being like this Backwoods hillbilly place, which it’s not.

You know, uh, very urban, uh, area, but they’re just kind of painted both of them really, but her, especially as these kind of innocent, naive characters, but this time watching it, I just thought, you know, he’s kind of a Dick. I mean, I get it. I, and, and I understand that I’m not naive. I understand that that’s how our justice system works.

But at the same time, you kind of have to call into question somebody. Moral standing when they are defending people like this disgusting guy in this first part. I mean, you were very subtle talking about him, like sweating and stuff. This is when, uh, the, the girl on the stand who’s. Played by Heather Mazzara who I really like, uh, from welcome to the dollhouse and lots of other things you can tell that she’s probably the kind of tween girl who maybe kind of has an attitude.

Um, and he kind of plays on that a little bit, but at the same time, she’s just a kid and she’s describing these things that happened to her and this skeezy guy who he is. Sitting right next to, um, defending is literally touching himself, like in the courtroom while this girl is describing what’s going on.

And yet he allows his pride. When he’s challenged by that reporter in the bathroom, he allows his pride to take over and. You know, arguably in the context of the movie, he’s very talented at what he does and he comes back out and he just completely discredits this girl. Um, who’s clearly upset and, uh, he gets the guy off and, and that was a little bit hard for me to reconcile, uh, this time around.

And it just continues, uh, throughout. Yeah. He just keeps being put intentionally. Unbeknownst to him, but intentionally he keeps getting put in these situations where he’s forced to do something that is arguably amoral. And so it was a little bit more difficult for me to sympathize with him this time around.

But I guess, you know, he gets a redemptive moment at the end, so it’s fine.

Todd: Well, one thing about the movie is it’s very. Heavy handed. I think there’s very little that subtle about it, especially it gets as it gets toward the end. In that way. It’s almost predictable. Like if you go into this movie having seen the previews or having seen the title, you kind of know where it’s going and it pretty much goes exactly in the direction.

You’re expecting it to go. There’s some twists in there. And of course, a lot of interesting things happen that are shocking and scary, but at the same time, I don’t think I ever wondered, Ooh, what’s going to happen next. And then there’s a morality. And I think we’ll get to there. You know, when we come to the end of the movie, that just kind of gets beaten over the head, like, okay, now we’re going to tell you, uh, everything we, we want.

We want to make sure you didn’t miss, you know, Earlier on in the movie. So, but yeah, they have a big celebration, uh, and at a bar and a guy approaches him and says, Hey, I have an offer for you. Eh, back in New York city, we want you to help out with the jury selection because you’re the best. And at first he thinks it’s a joke.

And then the guy holds out an envelope and says, well, here’s my offer. And I just have to say, I love this about movies. Like, they’re pretty smart. Right? Like, I don’t know if you like, see a movie from the twenties or thirties or something, and somebody comes in and wants to make a big offer for somebody I’m going to pay you $5 a week.

And they’re like, Oh my God. Right? And now that one, like 2020, that is in place so well, but low, some, some point in history, movies got really smart and they were just like, they kept this part silent. Right. So he just hand them an envelope. He opens the envelope he looks at and he’s like, are you for real?

Let me just give them a look and then they go, yeah.

Craig: So then they’re off to New York,

Todd: then they’re off to New York, right? So they end up in New York and this firm is


Craig: not before his, his mom is played by, uh, Judith, Ivy, who I also really like. Um, she’s. Popped up in a bunch of TV and movies and bit roles.

She was in a really obscure movie from the eighties called hello again with Shelley long.

Todd: And I loved that movie. Isn’t really that obscure. I think it played on cable a heck of a lot.

Craig: Uh, maybe I really liked it. She was in it. She played the, the wacky sister and that movie. But anyway, in this movie, she’s, uh, the very religious mother of.

Kevin the lawyer. And from the very beginning, she is worried about him going to New York. Like New York is, you know, Gomorrah or something. And, um, she doesn’t, she’s worried, but they go anyway and, um, everything seems great. You know what? He’s an initially hired for us to do jury selection for a trial because apparently that’s what he’s really good at.

And there’s this whole scene where he’s like, Super crazy. Insightful about these potential jurors. It play, it plays almost silly, uh, at this point, like just somehow he doesn’t know how, but it’s somehow he just has this amazing insight. Sight into these potential jurors and he picks this jury and they’re all super happy with them.

And so immediately he’s basically offered a job and that’s when we meet, I guess the principal antagonist, John Milton played by Al Pachino. Um, and it’s funny that his name is John Milton because that’s the author of paradise lost, which is. About the fall of man there even references to the text, uh, throughout, um, but alpha Chino, like you said, he turned down this role several times and he recommended other people for it.

He recommended Sean Connery for it. He recommended Robert Redford for it. I think that he’s great in this role for a lot of reasons. And one of the reasons that I think that he’s so good is that he, he portrays such confidence. Is it really effective coming from, and he even comments on this throughout the movie that he’s this small little guy, you know, he, I have no idea how tall alpha Chino is, but like, I would guess maybe like five, six, you know, like he’s, he’s this little guy he’s not.

Movie star handsome, like Keanu Reeves or somebody else. Um, but he just exudes confidence and power. And when Keanu Reeves character first meets him, it’s in his office at the top of this New York city skyscraper. And like, they go out on the roof where they’re like all these infinity pools and he offers him the job, but he talks to them about pressure change.

Has everything pressure. Some people used to. Reason they focus on this fall. Can you summon your talent? Talented? Will you deliver on a deadline?

When do we talk about money? He takes on the job. One of the interesting things that happens in this rooftop conversation is that Milton asks Kevin about his mom. Kevin tells him, you know, she’s real religious and she’s worried about me coming out here. And he, Milton says, ah, behold, I send you out a sheep, emits the wolves at Kevin’s basically like, yeah, that’s, you know how she feels or whatever, but.

That comes up later. It’s significant later, which is why I bring it up now. Yeah. But he takes the job and everything seems great. Like they get given this amazing reduction. Guiltlessly amazing, uh, apartment. It’s like a building for the firm. Like John Milton owns the whole building and the top dogs in the firm work there.

And they’re welcomed into this environment by all the people who work for this firm, the neighbors. Across the hall, the wife of one of the other lawyers, uh, kind of befriends Marianne right away. And, um, it just seems like, you know, a dream come true as I suppose these things are meant to initially,

Todd: I just want to talk really quick about that scene on the roof.

I read in the trivia about it, that that was not done with the blue screen, that there actually was a very. Very high 50th floor rooftop that they filmed this on and there is no railing outside here. It’s meant to be kind of a creepy, scary scene. Just the fact that they’re so close to the edge here. Of course, it’s very symbolic, but for me as a guy, who’s not a big fan of Heights.

That was one of the scariest parts of the movie is just watching them casually, strolling around inches away from the edge of this. Hi, hi building with no railing. Just

Craig: I kept thinking, I hope a big wind doesn’t come. It’s going to blow little outfit Chino right off into the sunset.

Todd: I had shades back to the exercise to remember what we did exercise too.

And Linda Blair has that scene where she. Steps out onto a part of the roof without a railing. And it turned out that during the production, it was literally a, without a railing. And she was just like half a step away from her actual death. And how irresponsible that was. Oh gosh. I was just thinking about that this whole, this whole time.

I was just like, ah, I mean, I know they’re safe and still alive, but this it’ll be crazy

Craig: right now. Yeah. I feel, yeah. I feel, yeah,

Todd: but right away. It’s not all wonderful because uh, his wife starts decorating the apartment and, uh, this woman. Uh, her name is Jackie. Uh, who’s like you said, the wife of, one of the other partners in this firm, uh, is just being super friendly and really helpful with her.

They take her out shopping. She stands and gives her advice on painting the walls, but she’s a little critical about everything, right? Like she starts to paint the wall with the color she pulled out and she’s like, Hmm, it doesn’t really match your complexion. So she starts to paint the wall a different color and she’s like, mm that’s not it either.

And his wife, Maryann is getting visibly frustrated by this. Then she goes out with them shopping. She advises her. Well, I guess I’m getting a little ahead of things. I’m probably, I better talk about the,

Craig: well, and there’s also another court case real quick. The first case that Kevin actually himself deals with, um, it’s basic, they call it a health code violation case, which I suppose it is.

But basically this guy is in trouble for like slaughtering. Animals in the basement of his convenience store or something like that. And it’s perfectly obvious that this guy is practicing some sort of dark magic or something like that. And Kevin has to go meet with him. The guy asks him, what’s the name of the prosecutor?

And Kevin tells him. And the guy says he pulls out this huge tongue, like a cow tongue out of the refrigerator and goes to start putting nails in it. And he says, all right, I’ll do everything that I can to silence this guy. You go do your job. They have the hearing. And the prosecutor has a coughing fit and is unable to object to anything that.

Kevin does. And so they win the case. And so there are these not so subtle hints throughout that there is something nefarious and, and dark, uh, going on, but apparently Kevin is just kind of blind to it as I suppose you would be. I mean, you don’t expect. Black magic to like pop into your everyday life. So I’ll forgive him for being a little naive on those points, but it’s true.

Anyway, from, from the very beginning, from the very beginning, he’s really successful. So

Todd: Jackie’s kind of working on Marianne. She’s really being friendly to her, but in the same sense, she’s also warning her that, you know, you’re never going to see your husband again, basically she needs like a, we’re just sort of resigned to this.

The fact that our job is basically to work, play, or breed. That’s all we can do. So in that way, she is clearly trying to work, to drive a bit of a wedge between them. And then on the other side, Kevin’s getting really, really friendly with John Milton. They go out on a walk and like you said, this is where he has his speech about how I’m a little guy, but they don’t see me coming.

And that’s my big secret. You know, what’s your big secret? It’s also interesting because, uh, as Milton is out walking around and as he’s talking on the telephone, it seems like he can speak any language. Speaking Cantonese with a guy, uh, in the market, he speaking Italian or something on the phone, all these things.

Uh, and so there is obviously something really. Uh, off about him, but he very quickly be friends. Kevin gives him a lot of confidence and tells him he sees they’re going to be great things. I love one of his lines that he says he’s like, use the subway, Kevin it’s. It’s one of my favorite ways to get around.

There are all these nice little touches here about Oh, fire, right? And Oh, like underground and all these little devil, you know, references that are really, really cute. I think just sprinkled liberally throughout the movie. Anyway, they do end up at this party that Milton is, is hosting and Milton’s kind of work in his magic on Marianne, um, wet at a time when Kevin is off, he sits down next to her and he’s just starts basically flirting with her in his own way.

And he’s like, uh, I don’t like your hair. She’s like, well, what’s wrong with it? And he’s like, well, there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s not, you try putting it up. And then she puts it up and he’s like, look at yourself in the mirror. And he’s like a woman’s neck and a woman’s shoulders are just, uh, uh, he just goes on and very, very sultry way.

And you can tell she’s, he’s just kind of casting a spell over her. At the same time, Kevin, from the minute he came into this firm, he’s been getting these glances and slight run-ins with this woman, a beautiful red haired woman with a red dress, always again, really nice touch. She is there at the firm too, and they have a discussion out on the balcony, which so her name is Krista bell anyway, and they have this conversation.

And if the first scene wasn’t a green-screen this scene is so obviously greenscreen, it’s almost distracting. 1996 green screen. I mean, I feel like 1956 green screen was better than this was. Yeah. It’s it’s,

Craig: it’s not good, but you know, that party from an outside perspective just looks like any upper crust party.

You know, everybody’s very rich and everybody’s schmoozing. And one of the. Actresses who, you know, in casual conversation, just very kind of casually name drops Donald Trump like, Oh, Donald would have been here, but like, you know, it was just like, we were all very rich. Uh, okay. It’s that weird dynamic. I just don’t even know what to make of this at this point.

Like. Now I understand the Milton being very seductive and, and successfully. So that makes sense. That’s kind of the devil’s emo. So I get that. And plus Marianne is very, you know, young and naive and obviously. Mostly, I don’t want to say easy to manipulate, but I don’t know how else to say it. Cause, cause she is.

But then I, this whole thing with, uh, Kevin and Krista, Bella is just weird from the beginning. Like the second he sees her, he is just infatuated with her and then he’s very blatantly flirting with her out on. The patio. And this is after he’s promised his wife that he would not leave her alone at the party, which he immediately does.

I don’t know because they paint the relationship initially between Kevin and Maryanne as solid. You know, they, they, they seem very much in love. They seem very much into each other, physically, physically, and sexually. And so to just immediately have him very obviously drawn to this other woman was a little bit.

Unsettling for me, I guess, you know, when it boils down to it, this is all planned out. You know, this is all part of a bigger picture. And so it’s not as though he’s even necessarily just seeking her out. You know, she’s being placed very strategically in his path, but it doesn’t take much for him to

Todd: get into it.

You’re right. I guess that’s kind of a failing of the movie is that, you know, you would expect to see a little more drama here, right? A little more, uh, difficulty of them to drive this wedge between the two of them. But this for a movie that’s two and a half hours long, it really blows through this pretty quickly.

This, this aspect of it and his infatuation with her is okay, like right away. I mean, I guess you could attribute some of it to a spell, you know, that’s sort of being cast upon them, but mostly it comes across as he’s just kind of selfish or he’s oblivious or something. And it does contrast a little bit with some of these more tender scenes that they have between the two of them when they show this.

This care and this affection for each other. So, yeah, I completely agree with you there. It’s a little uneven in

Craig: that way, but at the same time, first of all, I don’t think that we’re supposed to think that Kevin Lomax is really a great guy. I mean, when it comes down to it, he’s very flawed. You know, his, his pride and later out Pachino points out his vanity really are his tragic flaws.

And so, yeah. I don’t put it past his character to consider infidelity like it, you know, that doesn’t seem necessarily out of character for him. He’s just selfish, but they are capitalizing on that. Like unbeknownst to him, they are slowly chipping away at Marianne. They are trying to. Break her. And eventually they do, uh, you know, just little things, like you said that, uh, Milton was flirting talking about her neck and stuff.

Well, he tells her that she should cut her hair short and go back to her natural color, which she does. And it has, I mean, she’s Oh, as we’ve seen in. Later years, Charlie staring can chop off an arm and shave her head and she’s still hot as shit, but it takes something away from her veneer when she gets this very modest haircut and the other women, uh, like you said, very, just kind of.

Subtly are kind of picking away at her, making her feel insecure, um, and right away she starts to deteriorate and it’s pretty dramatic change in her. It’s not as though it goes unnoticed by Kevin, but he kind of, it’s not fair to say that he doesn’t care, but he doesn’t make her a priority. And he’s constantly given the opportunity the, the devil.

Milton keeps telling him, I want you to drop this case, this case color. I’ve got a jury showing up with this woman. Yes, of course I do. What are you doing? She’s sick. Everyone will understand all of this thing. We’re going to talk about this. Oh, listen to yourself. Kevin, we got to talk about that. What’s your wife, man.

She’s sick. She needs you. She’s got to come first. He keeps giving him these opportunities. Um, which I think is very clever because ultimately it has to be a question of his free will. Uh, he can’t be entirely forced into something. He can’t be entirely manipulated into something. It has to be his choice and it is very manipulative, but he constantly keeps choosing work over his wife.

Um, and ultimately, you know, That leads to her demise.

Todd: Yeah. It’s really important to the movie that the devil doesn’t D Milton’s character doesn’t overtly do anything. Right. It’s, it’s all manipulation. It’s allowing him, them to make these decisions themselves that lead to their downfall. But there’s some supernatural stuff still going on.

Like, um, when the wife goes out with the two girlfriends, they’re in a changing room and they’re talking and, and. I couldn’t help. But notice also that alcohol plays a very big role in this. It seems like both Kevin and his wife are almost constantly drinking through this movie. And with her, it seems like she gets into it to cope.

But one of the first scenes, you know, with them in, in the very beginning is at a bar, you know, putting shots back when he accepts the letter from the guy, he’s a little happy. Drunk on the way to the bathroom when he’s out on the, on the balcony and he’s being sort of seduced by that girl, he’s putting them back.

And so I feel like maybe that was the excuse or the crotch that you can kind of put under it. Uh, instead of the devil spell it’s that these guys that both of them are, are, are coping in this way. Uh, and it’s leading them to relax a little too much and make these decisions. Uh, a bit under the influence.

I felt like that was a pretty strong aspect of the movie, especially at the end, when he’s toward the end, when he’s offered a drink and he actually refuses it. I think that might be the first time in the whole movie he’s actually refused to drink. Anyway, that was a little something I noticed. I think it’s cute.

When he goes up to Milton’s apartment, he looks around and he’s remarking to the other guys is like, this is it like, it’s just a giant. Room. It has this huge sculpture behind his desk. And I do remember this very distinctly from originally seeing the film. This sculpture is pretty awesome. It has it’s it’s white goes from floor to ceiling, like two stories up and it’s got these people kind of coming out of waves, bodies, these kind of nude bodies coming out.

In this version of the movie that we saw, which is the home release version, that sculpture is digitally replaced with something that’s a little more abstract because apparently it just looked a little bit too much like a very famous sculpture called ex Emilio, uh, which is. Over the national cathedral.

And it does, if you go online and you look the sculpture up, it looks exactly like that sculpture. And they had to digitally replace it after a lawsuit saying that this sculpture, which is supposed to be about, um, creation and the birth of man was sort of perverted by this movie. It’s obviously a copy of that sculpture, but it’s made to seem demonic and almost the opposite of the sculptors original intent.

So the sculptor was able to win that lawsuit. And therefore they had to go back in and digitally replace it. So at the end of the film, they have to do some little tricks to come back in with the special effects to have those people come back out of what essentially for the rest of the movie is just a bunch

Craig: of words.

I didn’t know about that whole lawsuit thing. And I. I think that I had, like I said, the, um, original home release, which was on VHS and, and when this lawsuit was filed, they had already started, um, producing, uh, the initial, uh, print of a home video. And I guess in the settlement, they were allowed. To continue to distribute what had already been made.

They had to put a sticker on the box that said there, this is in no way affiliated with that sculpture or whatever. But I think that that’s the one that I had because I don’t remember it ever being blank without the. People in it, because it looks with the people in it, it almost looks like so and torment, like, like kind of in a Whirlpool or a or something like that.

And now it still looks really cool and they did an excellent job. Replacing it digitally, you can’t tell. Uh, I mean, it looks real, but it was also interesting for me to watch it. Having only seen the original because when Kevin first walks in there, he takes a notice, uh, and is very intrigued by this sculpture.

And it just reads a little bit odd to me now, because without all those bodies in there, it’s not really all that. Intriguing. Yeah. You see this look on his face, like, Whoa, that’s crazy. And then you see the sculpture and you’re like, well, it’s not really any big deal. Um, but, uh, at the end, the body, I guess maybe because in the end.

They the bodies animate and move around and stuff. And I guess that was unlike the original enough, I don’t know. Uh, but interesting. Interesting. But yeah. Interesting backstory, nonetheless. Um, you were talking about, Oh, okay. You should talk about the shopping scene cause that’s important. And then I’ll talk about the central lawsuit.

That comes up.

Todd: Okay. Okay. So she’s shopping with these ladies and her care is cropped cut and she’s drinking her wine and she already is starting to look a little frazzled. And these ladies are very carefree trying on different outfits and things. And they’re talking about nipping and talking and things like that.

And Jackie pulls off her, her bra and, uh, is talking about her boobs and says, Hey, are they real? You know, do you think they’re real or fake? And surely the Ron’s character. Marianne’s like, I don’t know. They look for you. They must be real

Craig: feeling. Oh no. It’s okay. Really? That’s the ultimate test

feel real? Yes, absolutely

Todd: real. Dr. Rob, and as she slips on her shirt again, her face. Morphs her smile suddenly gets like pointed, like basically a teeth full of fangs and very crooked or eyes slid up and move over. It is super freaky. And this is the thing I remembered more than anything else about this movie and her body it’s like under her skin, there are hands moving around, caressing her body.

Yeah. And then she slips the shirt on, just kind of looks at her, you know, smiling and, and walks away. And I think probably also because she’s drinking the alcohol and she is so frazzled, I th she initially sort of writes it off as I’m seeing things. And so this is another one of these little tricks that are coming in.

Um, it happens more than once. That’s somebody will look at one of the people in this firm and their face will more flack this just very temporarily and make them think that they’re seeing

Craig: things. She does think that she’s seeing things, but she’s also totally freaked out. It’s not like, Oh yeah, I mean, she gets up and hightails it out of there.

And she talks to her husband about it, but obviously he just kind of thinks that she’s losing it. She is. But not just because she’s a crazy person, but because this outside force is, is manipulating her. Um, soon after this, you know, she freaks out in this moment and he tries to comfort her and he says something like let’s make a baby because she’s been talking about having babies, the whole movie, and, um, they start to make out.

But all of a sudden he is. Seeing Christa, Bella, and it keeps cutting back and forth pretty seamlessly. I thought it looks pretty good, um, between, uh, Charlise Starin and Connie Nielsen, the actress who plays, uh, Christa, Bella, but it’s, it’s weird because it’s, it’s more than just fantasy. Like he’s, he’s literally seeing her at least that’s how I read it.

Yeah. Sexual tryst is like,

Todd: like a threesome.

Craig: Yeah, it’s weird. Um, but, but Charlise there and eventually realizes that he’s not. There, you know, that’s what she says. She’s like, where are you? And he’s like, I’m right here. And she’s like, no, you’re not. And she’s obviously distraught. And her character deterioration is just constantly progressing from very early on.

Um, but meanwhile, the big case that Kevin gets put on is this triple homicide case. Uh, the guy’s name is Colin. His last name is Colin. He’s played by Craig T Nelson. What’s happened according to Colin. Uh, he came home late from work and he found his wife, his son, and a housekeeper dead, uh, in the apartment.

But he’s in trouble because. According to him, he panicked upon finding all these people dead and he touched everything and he touched the murder weapon and he had blood on him, his justification as well. I panicked, but I’m the one who found them. I called the police. I didn’t kill anybody. And he claims that he.

Is his, his main concern at this point is his 14 year old stepdaughter who is being kept away from him because he’s a suspect in this murder. And that’s the case that Kevin gets put on and it’s really high profile and he’s in the news and reporters are following him and Marianne around his mom. Alice.

Uh, comes to visit and she’s only there for one night and they come back. Uh, why? I don’t think that’s intentional. I think that she had, she was coming for an extended visit. Um, but that first night that she’s there, they’re in the lobby. Of the building, having just come from dinner, Milton approaches with two of the beautiful women from the firm.

One of them being Christa, Bella, and they all end up in the elevator together. And Alice is clearly uncomfortable from the get-go, but she, you can tell that she’s trying to play it. Cool. But she’s out, she’s obviously. Something’s off, but then the next day, when, uh, Kevin gets up to go to work and he’s headed out the door, his mom kind of greets him in the F in the foyer or whatever, uh, and says, I’m leaving.

I got to get out of here. Uh, I miss my church. I got to go and he wants her to stay, but she says she won’t. And she says, you need to do better by Mary and she’s not doing well. And he says, well, then why don’t you stay here and take care of her? And she says, I can’t stay here. I’ll take her with me if you’ll let me, but he won’t.

And so she leaves and that’s everything just kind of blows up from here. I mean, I’m condensing this a lot because this whole court case draws out for a while. It turns out that the guy had motive because. He had a prenup and in the prenup, there was a clause that if there was any infidelity, he wouldn’t get anything.

And it turns out his wife found out that he was having an affair and he says he was having an affair with his assistant and the assistant verifies that. But when Kevin is prepping her for the stand, um, he’s asking her all these personal questions and he asks her if. The guy, colon is circumcised and she hesitates when he continues to press her, she lashes out at him and he can just tell that she’s lying.

That something’s not right. And that’s another time when he goes to Milton and says, look, she’s lying. I think maybe this guy is guilty and Milton again says fine. Drop the case. He says, well, you know, we’ll put somebody else on it. I will have your back, whatever you decide to do, do whatever you have to do.

It’s fine. But Kevin, his pride won’t allow him and he does call the assistant up to the stand. She testifies that she was having an affair. With the guy calling and that she was with him on the night of the murders. And so the guy is acquitted and I feel like this is the turning point where Kevin kind of realizes what he’s doing because at the funeral, Oh, somebody dies.

Uh, Oh, gee, I we’ve we’ve yeah, Eddie Barzun who we haven’t even talked about, but his death is a pretty cool. You want to talk about it?

Todd: Yeah. Yeah. Eddie Barnes who’s played by Jeffrey Jones. Maybe one of the last roles he had before he got to real deep trouble. He’s clearly a very hard worker at the firm.

Clearly he’s working to be partner and he’s been there a long time and he’s never gotten past manager, head manager, and he’s in the basement, shredding documents and stuff. And, uh, you know, uh, Kevin, Kevin pops in there and kind of notices they’re doing something. He just ushers him out. And without even telling him, Milton has promoted Kevin now to partner.


Craig: your name got on the firm’s charter. It’s been there for years. So now you’re a partner. When did that happen? No, I still am the managing director of this firm. You want my job? Take me head on you backdoor me one more time. I’ll take your partnership papers and I’ll shove

Todd: them down your throat. Uh, and he confronts Milton.

He goes jogging. And at the same time, Milton is having a conversation that you mentioned with Kevin about dropping the case. At the same time, Kevin confronts him about what Eddie had said. Milton says, well, we need to get Eddie in here right away. So he calls and ask them to go get Eddy. Well, what ends up happening is Eddie is out jogging in central park and he starts like seeing joggers coming after him.

But then he looks back behind and they sort of disappear and he bumps into a guy. And then when he looks back, the guy’s gone. Uh, he’s being pursued basically almost by ghosts. Demons or something. And then, uh, he trips and falls and there are two bums who show up with big branches and beat the death out of them.

And, and in this moment, also a couple of the bums are transforming a little bit into demons. Now, you know, what I was kind of wondering here is, are these people. Really demons or are they just people who are under a day influence or is this vision of them just somehow supposed to, you know, kind of like a lasting before you die kind of thing, kind of like, uh, a vision that kind of shows there.

Their motion at the time or their influence, what they’re under. I don’t know. Were you thinking that, that these are just supernatural creatures who were beating them to

Craig: death? Uh, I’m not sure, really. Uh, the impression that I got was probably, they’re just like, they’re probably actually real people who are just being manipulated, like physically.

Uh, and, and who knows, maybe they’re bad people. I don’t know, but I just got the impression that Milton’s had the power to manipulate these people into doing his bidding or whatever. Um, but yeah, they, they, they kill him, but, uh, Milton has this great monologue over this whole scene where, uh, Barzun is running and he’s having these.

Visions. And, you know, Milton’s talking about like the fall of man and our flaws that lead us to destruction and stuff. Yeah. And your building goes the size of cathedrals fiber optically connect the world to every eager impulse grease. Even the Dulles dreams with these. Dollar green gold plated fantasies until every human becomes an aspiring emperor.

He comes as old God. And where can you go from there? Meanwhile, it’s almost kind of like Marianne is experiencing this too or witnessing it like from her window kind of. Um, and so that’s just even pushing her further, you know, over the edge, but he ends up getting killed and at the funeral, colon shows up with his 14 year old step-up.

Daughter, Kevin is sitting behind him and he sees Colin like caressing this girl’s back. First of all, she’s totally dressed inappropriately for a 14 year old at a funeral she’s wearing like a low cut dress. And, um, another woman in the firm tells her, she looks ravishing. Like, obviously this isn’t unholy.

The thing that’s going

Todd: on. There’s some real slimeballs here yet.

Craig: Kevin, clearly he knows what’s going on. He kind of like, he envisions Cullen as Getty, the guy that he had gotten off in the beginning for child molestation and it bothers him to the point that he gets up and storms out. Meanwhile, Milton is standing in the back of the church and I love this scene.

He’s like looking up mischievously. The paintings of the cherubs and the angels and the saints. And, uh, he puts his finger over the Holy water font. If he’s like a petulant kid, like I’m going to touch it, I’m going to touch it, touch it. And, uh, eventually he dips his finger in the Holy water font and the Holy water begins to boil.

And if it hadn’t been entirely. Projected from the beginning that Milton was the devil, I suppose this is the scene where they’re like, yep. You were right. He is. He’s literally, yeah.

Todd: In that way, it’s a little bombastic. It’s a little over the top, but it’s kind of delicious in that way. Right. Cause, cause this is inner cut.

I think also with. With something else going on. Right.

Craig: I guess I kind of got ahead of myself a little bit. After the trial, Kevin goes home and the doorman tells them that Maryanne there’s something wrong with her. They tried to stop her, but she left and she went to this church. And so Kevin goes and finds her at this church and she’s in a bad way.

She’s crying, she’s upset. She’s wrapped up in a comforter and he asked her what’s wrong. And she says, Uh, he came over to the apartment eventually. He’s like, who, who are you talking about? And she says Melton. But what she says was, you know, at first he was really nice and he talked to me and we talked for a really long time and I haven’t had anybody to talk to in so long, but then she starts crying and he says, did somebody hurt you?

This is before she’s revealed who it was. And she nods, uh, yes. And he says, who was it? And she says Milton. And he says, what did he do? And get your beeper ready? Uh, he says, he asks me all afternoon and he accuses her of lying because Milton had, was with him in court all afternoon, but she is adamant. She starts to freak out and she stands up.

And she drops the comfort of it. She had herself wrapped in and she’s nude and she’s covered in horrible cuts all over her body. And she says he did this to me and he grabs her in comfort, sir. But then also has her committed that’s in the hospital. I mean, I don’t know what else you would do. She’s obviously in a bad way to loving gesture at this point.

Yeah. Um, the nurse says she’s conscious and calm. Now it’d be a good time to say goodbye. And it’s really sad. She’s strapped down, uh, to this hospital gurney and it appears that she’s been sedated and they’re walking along. And that’s when she says to him, we did this to ourselves. You know, we knew it, you know, all that money.

Uh, it was blood money and we knew it and we took it. And now we’re paying the price. After the whole church scene, he goes back to the hospital to see her and his mother has come back and she’s there. The mom says, I need to talk to you. And she takes him out in the hall and confesses. I have been to New York before when I was a kid, we came here with a Bible group and we stayed in this hotel and I was shy and naive that there was this bus boy at the hotel restaurant where I ate every night and every night he would talk to me and he was kind to me and.

He was your father. Kevin’s like, are you serious that you’re telling me this now, like, this is the worst possible time. And she’s like, no, you have to listen. And he’s dismissive, but she insists. And she gets in his face and she tells him it was Millie. Now

Todd: that was a twist. I did not see coming.

Craig: I did. I saw it coming a mile away.

The fact, the fact that his father was absent, that he never knew who he was. And then her response to him in the elevator, like obviously she knew there was something going on with him or knew who he was or

Todd: something took it as, you know, she’s hyper religious and he’s the devil. So she’s going to be like extra attuned to, you know, his evil and that she was just, she saw right through him.

Well, that could be too, I suppose. Yeah. And then they’re in the middle of having this conversation and there’s a screaming going on down the hall. Uh, and his wife has barricaded herself in the room because. One of the other people in the firm, uh, has been pushing her around in a wheelchair or something or holding behind her chair and gives her a mirror.

And when she looks in the mirror, she sees this woman behind her reflected and the woman also does this little demon transformation that she seen before she freaks out. She runs to a room. She barricades herself in and with a piece of the broken mirror. As he is bashing the glass in a, nobody is coming to help including this other woman.

Who’s just standing in the background. She pulls it out and slits her own throat. It’s really pretty tragic. It’s sad. It’s super sad. And he runs in and he’s, he’s trying to stop the bleeding and the nurse comes in. It’s a horrible scene. And. I think Keanu Reeves does a fantastic job of acting this. The only thing I’ve got to say is almost after this scene, we go right through the plot some more and he bounces back awfully quick.

You know, I mean, he’s clearly pissed. He’s clearly whatever, but. Um, I don’t know, he’s just not as destroyed as I think I would be after having been witness and party to this whole instance.

Craig: Yeah. I see what you’re saying, but at the same time, he’s figuring out what’s going on. And so he’s very purposeful.

He goes outside and that woman, I think her name was Pam says. Oh, you’re afraid. Don’t worry. He’ll take all your fear away. Go to him. He’s waiting for you. And Kevin goes to walk down the street and of course, this is right in the middle of New York and this street is completely abandoned. He goes back, uh, to Milton’s it’s his office, but it’s the office in his house.

And he finds him there and he basically confronts him at this point. You know, Milton is just very forthcoming. Kevin at first is very angry and he has a gun and he’s like, what did you do to my wife? And Milton, very crassly tells him. Um, and so Kevin shoots him a bunch of times, but it doesn’t have any effect cause he’s the devil.

And then they, you know, Milton just lays it all out for him. And I really liked that this is what it is. You know, like you’re, you’re my son, Krista, Bella is there too. And he says, this is your sister, while your half sister, he says, you guys are the future. Your seed is the key to the future. And this scene is just so I want to say it’s really good, but the reason that it’s so good is because it’s so gross.

Like basically Milton is like, here’s your sister. She’s hot or I’m going to stand over here and watch. And

Todd: then it’s the Frank Sinatra

and the sculpture and the background to all the people in there started moving and they’re doing it too, you know, but the dialogue here is. So good. It is. I really, this is a great scene. It’s a long scene, but it’s just absolutely delicious where he, he does. He basically recaps the movie. Every objection that Kevin has of you did this.

You did this, you did this. He goes, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. I didn’t do anything. You did it. In fact, I gave you so many outs. I gave you so many suggestions. He’s like, that’s the point? I can’t really do anything, but you’ve got this freewill and that’s the tool I have

Craig: to work with. And he says, vanity is my favorite sin.

And I love that because that’s what it’s been about. It’s been about pride and it’s been about vanity from the beginning for this guy, you know, it was great. Yeah. He’s really good. I mean, he’s a great actor. It’s not like this comes as any surprise, but this could a different actor could have really hammed this up in a way that would have been cheesy.

Yeah. And it’s not like he’s just very cool. It really, really works. Yeah. I think he does great. Kevin

Todd: Spacey was considered for this role. It would have been so different with Kevin Spacey in it. You know, he probably would have been more sinister, you know, like a little more. Uh, but Pachino just comes across as this matter of fact, likable guy, which is, what’s so disarming about him, which is exactly what he’s told us.

And it just it’s great. And so the girl strips down, he’s like, all right, you know, Kevin’s like, all right, well, I’m going to, we gotta make a deal. And he throws some of ’em Pacino’s words back at him, you know, he’s like, well, what do you want? And he’s like, well, we’re always dealing right. This isn’t good enough.

What are you going to give me? Basically telling them he’s going to give them ultimate power. You know, he’s going to be able to win every case he ever wants to win. And he’s not going to have anything to worry about for the rest of his life. So he lays her down with his help on yeah. And it’s about to go at it with her and he looks up and he says, Oh, you forgot one thing or whatever.

And he says, what? He’s like, I’ve got free will. Right. He says, yeah. And he pulls out the gun and he shoots himself in the head. That was brilliant. I. Honestly also did not imagine how this was going to end that that did not come across my mind. No, me, it was so cool. And it’s put Chino was so pissed and he’s angry and he’s going up in flames and I mean, everything kind of falls apart around them.

Then boom, we are back in the restroom at the beginning of the movie at this trial of this child, molester like Keanu Reeves has been in a trance this whole time or whatever, and he’s been jolted to reality in the mirror just as that reporter is walking out. So it’s like, he’s kind of played this all out in his head, you know, it’s like he’s had this, um, alternate dimensional experience or whatever, and here he is back again and he has a choice to make and he ends up making a different choice this time he goes in and he asked to be recused from the case that shocks everybody.

And the judge is like, are you kidding me? You know what this is doing? He’s like, yeah, I know full, well, you know, the ramifications of this. And he walks out with his wife and, and they embrace. And he she’s like, what in the world are you doing? And he says, finally, The right thing. And then there’s a bit of a Coda.


Craig: did you read that? Like, not that it was all a dream, right. It’s just kind of like, it kind of like things reset,

Todd: basically. That’s how I felt like, well, I mean, if he’s the devil son, you know, like maybe he can’t be killed.

Craig: Yeah. Maybe I have to say that it was nice to see Charlise there and alive and well, and she’s, you know, back to her.

Self the way we knew her in the beginning where she’s far more carefree and not tortured, which is nice. It’s always nice. And so, you know, he has this a heroic moment where he does the right thing and recuses himself from, uh, the case with, I guess, potentially consequences. I don’t know how that works.

Like I thought lawyers could recuse themselves from cases and it was no big deal. Yeah. They make it out. Like it’s a big deal. Like he’s going to be disbarred or something and they run out together Maryanne and Kevin, and they’re followed by that same reporter from the beginning, the one who had told him, you know, maybe, maybe it’s your time to lose.

You can’t win them all. And this guy’s like, Oh my gosh, this is huge. You know, the, the lawyer with a conscience, it’s going to be a huge story. And Kevin’s like, yeah, well, I’m going to get this. Bard. And, um, he’s like, no, no, seriously, this is going to be huge. It’s you know, I can get you in the news. I can get you in time magazine.

You’ll be famous, Kevin and Maryanne pause on the stairs on their way down and look at each other. And Kiana reef says, call me in the morning and they turn around and leave. And the reporter standing at the top of the stairwell turns into Milton, who just says vanity. Is my favorite sin. And then the rolling stones painted black starts to play and credits.

Uh, and I thought that was a clever, you know, like, Oh, he made, he made the right decision. Everything’s okay. No, you know, the devil’s always in the details, you know? There’s there’s always going to be temptation just because you resisted and beat that one temptation. Now it’s just, uh, here comes the next one.

And I thought that was a really clever way. And I, it didn’t feel like a setup for a sequel or anything. It was just kind of a nice wink to the audience. Well, you can’t

Todd: have a movie where the devil is defeated and he’s now dead. That’s not how this works. So yeah, it was, it was a nice way of wrapping all that up.

It was very satisfying and I thought the whole movie to be honest was, was good. I enjoyed it. And I wasn’t watching the clock. Like I thought I would be. And I’m not sure why. I think, I don’t know if I was just in the right mood or. Everything was just so well paced that I didn’t actually feel like there were parts of the movie that dragged.

And like you said, it’s not like a lot goes on, but I think every scene just has a lot in it. And a lot of interesting things to watch and interesting dialogue. And so for me, actually the two and a half hour running time. Uh, didn’t seem to be a problem at all. Surprisingly and the movie itself, as far as the cinematography or anything is nothing to speak at.

It’s just a very simply photographed story. It looks like any movie from the mid nineties, you know? Yeah. Which is fine. Apparently the special effects. For that scene where those sculpture is moving and things like that took like two weeks and about 40% of their budget back in 1996 to put together like $2 million just for that one scene, which might be why it didn’t end up getting from the other home release.

Right. It doesn’t hold up well today, but for the time, anyway, that was a pretty impressive, special, fast.

Craig: Yeah. And I still think it looks

Todd: cool. I remember that freaking the heck out of me when I first saw it. And it’s still Oh

Craig: yeah, yeah. Just a couple of little things that we didn’t mention. I, you know, at the end when Kevin kills himself, um, and Pachino like bursts into flames and everything bursts into the sculpture and the people in the sculpture burning and Christa, Bella, like turns to Ash.

Um, I thought it was kind of a cool touch that, uh, Pachino reverts like to his angel form. Um, And, and it’s clearly Keanu Reeves, but we’re meant to believe that that’s, um, ALPA chinos or, or, or lo Macs or whatever his name is. Milton’s original form, which I thought was kind of cool. And the other thing that I’m surprised that we haven’t mentioned this movie, there is so much nudity.

And this movie I was telling my partner last time, like, you know, this is what a Charlise. Theron’s first movies because she is Bush out naked, which they would probably have to, they would have to pay her a lot more these

Todd: days. Yeah. She was really reluctant to do that because she was just. She was offered Showgirls before this and turned it down for the nudity.


Craig: she wants to fuck. I think she made the right call.

Todd: We might not be talking about her. She was in Showgirls,

Craig: but no, I agree with you. The two and a half hours didn’t bother me either, which really surprises me. Cause I usually am not. Happy about watching movies that long. But, um, it, it, it didn’t feel long. I was engaged the whole time and, uh, I don’t think the movie holds up today as well as it did in the late nineties, but I still like it.

I still think it’s a good movie. And, uh, I really think that I could have done this. Podcast without watching it again. That’s how many times I’ve seen it? Like I could have gone through beat by beat. I don’t know if I’ll watch it again soon, but it’s probably something that I will come back to. There are just too many, if nothing else, alpha Chino’s performance is worth the price of admission for this

Todd: movie and these lines of dialogue.

It’s just wonderful. Well, Alyssa, thank you so much for this request. We really enjoyed revisiting this film from the nineties. And like I said before, we’re going to be doing a lot more requests. So please go to our website. You can search us two guys and a chainsaw. You’ll find us on Facebook also on YouTube.

If you leave us a comment, any one of those places with your request, we’ll add it to our list and hopefully we’ll get to it in the near future until next time. I’m Todd.

Craig: And I’m Craig, with two guys with a chainsaw.

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