Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Movie Quote of the Day (‘The Devil’s Advocate,’ With a Great Way to Represent a No-Good Defendant)

Kevin Lomax [played by Keanu Reeves]: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I know you've spent all morning listening to Mr. Broygo talk; I know you're hungry; what I need to tell you won't take very long at all. I don't like Alexander Cullen. I don't think he's a nice person. I don't expect you to like him. He's been a terrible husband to all three of his wives; he's been a destructive force in the lives of his stepchildren; he's cheated the city, his partners, his employees. He's paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties and fines over the years. I don't like him. I'm going to tell you some things during the course of this trial that are going to make you like him even less. But this isn't a popularity contest; it's a murder trial.”—The Devil’s Advocate (1997), screenplay by Andrew Neiderman, Jonathan Lemkin, and Tony Gilroy, directed by Taylor Hackford

There are plenty of reasons why Kevin Lomax is a superior defense attorney in this supernatural thriller. But one of the most significant is that he not only acknowledges the obvious—i.e., that his client is an obnoxious creep—but also that he gets said obnoxious creep not to interfere with his effective defense.

More than a quarter-century ago when this movie came out, many movie fans—especially those in the New York area—identified almost immediately who might have inspired Alexander Cullen. Let’s see:

*a real-estate developer;

*a guy with three wives;

*someone who’s cheated the city and his employees;

*someone who’s paid “thousands of dollars in penalties and fines.”

Did that individual recognize himself in Cullen? Those who say, “maybe not,” could argue that this individual is—well, morally obtuse for not detecting the obvious.

On the other hand, those who say “maybe” have just as strong a case, for that individual, believe it or not, allowed his own Fifth Avenue apartment (dear me, the resemblance to real life is becoming shameless!) to be used for filming Cullen’s abode.

I mean, I know that he may have believed that any publicity is good publicity, but still…

Unlike in the movie, the real-life Alexander Cullen dictated to his lawyers in his recent felony trial that they should dispute any suggestions that he might not be the most faithful of husbands, right in an opening statement to the jury that these were “false, false allegations.”  That opened the way for prosecutors to attack his misconduct on multiple fronts.

Of course, back when The Devil’s Advocate was filmed, the Internet was still in its relative youth and social media had not even been born. Both have combined to present opportunities for “doxxing,” or the publication of private information on the Internet with malicious intent.

And wouldn’t you know that the real-life Alexander Cullen, after his guilty verdict (made inevitable once his attorneys followed his incompetent lead), has riled up his followers enough that they are doxxing on a massive scale against the judge, witnesses, and jurors.

Oh, who needs a great Devil’s Advocate when a mob will do your bidding just as well?

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