A serial killer brutally slays and dismembers several gay men in New York's S&M and leather districts. The young police officer Steve Burns is sent undercover onto the streets as decoy for the murderer. Working almost completely isolated from his department, he has to learn and practice the complex rules and signals of this little society. While barely seeing his girlfriend Nancy anymore, the work starts changing him.
Supernatural forces hover over the courtroom in this devilish drama adapted from the novel by Andrew Neiderman. Attorney Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) doesn't heed the Bible-based warnings of his mother (Judith Ivey), who views New York City as "the dwelling place of demons." Instead, he leaves Gainesville, Florida, with his wife Mary Ann (Charlize Theron) to put his legalistic skills to the test at a leading Manhattan law firm run by John Milton (Al Pacino). It all goes smoothly – with Milton urging them to stay, putting Kevin on a $400-per-hour salary, and moving the couple into a luxurious apartment in his own building on Fifth Avenue – where Mary Ann falls under the influence of neighbor Jackie (Tamara Tunie). After Kevin defends a weird animal sacrificer (Delroy Lindo, uncredited), he moves up to an important case with an apparent murderer, real-estate tycoon Alexander Cullen (Craig T. Nelson).
James Newton Howard makes a rare but welcome foray into the horror genre with The Devil's Advocate, a chilling but majestic work highlighted by its stunning choral passages. While Howard's signature fusion of symphonics and electronics is the score's backbone, his use of the human voice most effectively communicates the evil lurking within lead Al Pacino, and his decision to avoid thematic consistency is another clever tool for keeping the listener off balance, with strange, ominous noises lurking in the background to further underscore the dark forces at work. Spooky, compelling stuff.