In the order of the devil

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German title In the order of the devil
Original title The Devil's Advocate
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1997
length approx. 138 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Taylor Hackford
script Jonathan Lemkin ,
Tony Gilroy
production Anne Kopelson ,
Arnold Kopelson ,
Arnon Milchan
music James Newton Howard
camera Andrzej Bartkowiak
cut Mark Warner

The Devil's Advocate (Original title: The Devil's Advocate ) is an American mystery - thriller from director Taylor Hackford from the year 1997 with Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino in the lead roles. It is based on the novel of the same name by Andrew Neiderman and the conceptual concepts of John Milton from his epic Paradise Lost .


Kevin Lomax is a star young Florida attorney and has never lost a case. While defending a teacher accused of sexually abusing a student, he realizes to his horror during the trial that his client is guilty. Lomax requests a short break and goes to the courtroom to calmly think about what to do next. A reporter comes into the bathroom and scoffs that the series of lawsuits won will end with this case. Spurred on by this remark, Lomax returns to the courtroom ready to fight and interrogates the witness, an eleven-year-old girl. In the course of his newly conceived defense strategy, he questions the girl's credibility in a perfidious way and wins the case.

Shortly thereafter, the influential New York City charismatic law firm John Milton made him an extremely lucrative offer to come to New York and work for him. Lomax's mother, a Bible-based provincial Christian, warns him about New York, which she calls the great whore of Babylon . However, he and his young wife, Mary Ann, are enthusiastic about the big city and the sinfully expensive apartment that the firm provides them.

But while Kevin Lomax is familiarizing himself with the law firm and enjoying Milton's above-average interest in himself, Mary Ann Lomax soon feels uncomfortable among the spoiled wives of the other lawyers. Because of the hard work of her husband and his burgeoning interest in the attractive colleague Christabella Andreoli, promoted by Milton, problems arise in the young marriage. Meanwhile, Kevin notices that there are some things that are not right in the company: files are destroyed and colleagues hide illegal activities from him.

Finally, Lomax receives a major case from Milton: the construction worker Alexander Cullen is said to have murdered his wife, stepson and the nanny. Although he had great doubts about Cullen's innocence over time, the young lawyer invests all time in the client's defense and neglects his wife even more. Milton persuades her to radically change her hairstyle at a party, which irritates Lomax, and she has increasingly disturbing visions and nightmares in which the wives of the other lawyers turn into demons and a baby plays with her ovaries that have been operated on. Milton finally proposes to Lomax to drop the Cullen case and take care of his increasingly unstable wife, but Lomax refuses on the grounds that he is afraid that he will resent his wife if he postpones professional success for her sake.

When a colleague is murdered and his mother, who has come to visit, reacts in horror when she meets Milton, Lomax again doubts Milton's intentions. In addition, he notices more and more apparently supernatural abilities in his mentor and finds out that he has his fingers in arms and drug stores all over the world through his company. But when Mary Ann Lomax claims that Milton raped her, Kevin takes his side again, as Milton was with Kevin in the courtroom at the time. Mary Ann is then admitted to a mental hospital. When she has visions there again, in which Kevin's secretary takes on demonic traits, she locks herself in a panic in her room and slits open her carotid artery with a piece of glass.

Still dazed by the death of his wife, Kevin Lomax learns from his mother that Milton is his father and that even back then, when she met him as a young girl in New York, she suspected who he really was. Kevin Lomax then goes to Milton's penthouse , where he confirms that he is the devil and his father. Much more than that, Christabella is Kevin's half-sister, and her father brought the two together to beget the Antichrist . After a lengthy exchange of words, in which he reproaches Kevin, among other things, that this seeing eye had accepted the suffering and death of his wife, the incarnate believes that he can get his son to mate with his half-sister; but the latter shoots himself in the head instead, triggering a firestorm caused by the devil's fury.

Kevin Lomax finds himself in the courtroom's men's room shortly before saving the sex offender mentioned above from prison. The time was turned back. He returns to the room and finds Mary Ann healthy. Determined to do the right thing this time, he resigns and risks being expelled from the bar. He and his wife leave the court, but a reporter is already approaching them again with promises of a major media show. It's the same reporter who once spurred him on to win the case. Kevin initially declines an interview, but then gives in - encouraged by his wife's encouragement - very soon. He tells the reporter to call him the next morning. When Kevin and Mary Ann Lomax can no longer see him, the friendly grinning reporter transforms into the smirking devil, who ends the film with the face of the winner and the words: " Vanity , clearly my favorite sin."


Film set: Donald Trump's penthouse in New York
  • Donald Trump's penthouse in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York served as the backdrop for the film and was used in the plot as Alexander Cullen's residence.
  • John Milton is named after the 17th century poet of the same name . The Lomax put forward text line "Better reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven" (in the original: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" ) comes from its main work, the epic poem Paradise Lost .
  • The boxing match that Milton and Lomax watch in the middle of the film is not a scene designed for the film, but a real sporting event: The world champion in the super middleweight division, Roy Jones Jr. , fought on October 4, 1996 in Madison Square Garden, New York against challenger Bryant Brannon (win for Jones by KO in the second round). In this scene, boxing manager Don King has a guest appearance in which he plays himself. (→  cameo )
  • For the role of Kevin Lomax, Brad Pitt , John Cusack and Edward Norton were included . Originally Joel Schumacher was also supposed to direct.
  • In the scene in which Christabella speaks something in French to guests at the party, she speaks these sentences in German in the original English version.
  • In the film, the Latin term pro hac vice is used, which describes the exception or individual rule that the Florida lawyer may take on a legal case in New York.
  • The film The Covenant: Brotherhood of Evil (2006) with Edward Furlong received the title In German, On behalf of the devil 2 , but has no relation to the original.


Washington National Cathedral Crucifix constructed from war material.jpg

After the theatrical release of the film, there was a legal dispute between Warner Bros. and the sculptor Frederick Hart, as the provided with human forms wall relief in Milton's office strongly resembled a factory Harts, above the entrance of the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC attached is. The solution for the video and DVD versions was to digitally change the image, removing the human forms from the sculpture. They can only be seen in the final scene, in which they play an important role.

However, the theatrical version shown on German television contains the original image. A legal note was also added to the booklet on the DVD that was purchased: “The large, white relief in the form of human bodies on the wall in John Milton's penthouse in 'In the Devil's Order' is not connected in any way - and was not created with consent by the sculptor Frederick Hart or the Washington National Cathedral, copyright community of the cathedral sculpture 'Ex Nihilo' in Washington DC "


"Artificial equipment and a brilliant performance by Al Pacino as Mephisto cannot permanently distract from the inadequacy of the idea and construction."

“As brilliantly and ingeniously as the film is able to convey the creeping seizure of power by evil, especially visually, the juxtaposition of careerism and puritanism is so banal."

"[The film] is neither theater of ideas nor trash for the sake of horror, but highly intelligent entertainment that combines elements of both."

- Gregor Dotzauer , Süddeutsche Zeitung

Awards (selection)

The film received the Saturn Award for Best Horror Film in 1998 . The film received a nomination in each of the categories Best Make-up , Best Screenplay and Best Actor (Al Pacino). The film received a nomination for the Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Supporting Actress Charlize Theron. The film received a nomination for the MTV Movie Award for Best Villain Al Pacino.


  • On behalf of the devil . DVD , Warner Home Video 2003
  • On behalf of the devil . Blu-ray , Warner Home Video 2012


  • Andrew Neiderman : On behalf of the devil. The novel for the film with Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves (original title: The Devil's Advocate ). German by Hartmut Huff. Goldmann, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-442-43870-5 , 283 pp.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. On behalf of the devil (1997) - Trivia. In: Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
  2. On behalf of the devil. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  3. Lars-Olav Beier. In: FAZ , January 22, 1998
  4. Gregor Dotzauer. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , January 22, 1998