Suing the Devil - review
Published 12 July 2012
Suing the Devil (PG, 2011)
Well this is a very interesting concept, and I appreciated the casting of Malcolm McDowell as Satan. This was a bit like having Morgan Freeman play God in Bruce Almighty. While probably aimed at the US Christian market, the film was filmed in Australia around Darlinghurst and parts of Sydney (and also some filming in LA), and clearly has significant Australian involvement, especially with Wesley Institute students. Some of the filming lends itself to advertising for Sydney itself.
The premise is simple. A down-on-his-luck law student decides to sue Satan for 8 trillion dollars because he argues Satan is the cause of all the world's problems. Satan appears at the trial in the nick of time to defend himself, and a courtroom drama unfolds. Satan is assisted by some of the world's best lawyers, all of whom could easily feature as characters in the usual jokes about lawyers. During times in the witness box many different ethical and philosophical questions are raised including the nature of evil and the problem of pain. Who is responsible for evil in the world? All good questions and the film may help some younger groups in particular to think about God's world.
There are cameos from Christian leaders and writers, including Christian singer Rebecca St James, and a Sydney-based well-known Pentecostal pastor. Malcolm McDowell has such a strong screen presence in nearly anything he appears in that he can easily dominate. It was certainly amusing and sobering seeing him take the oath and learning that Satan sees his role as "just the trash collector." There are a number of other Hollywood actors involved as well, including Corbin Bernsen and Tom Sizemore, and perhaps it is the professional involvement that illustrates the difficulties with some of the other roles, especially the lead role. The film-work often reminded me of a play, and illustrated the difference between directing a film and directing a play. Using a relatively unknown actor Brad Bronson in the lead role of Luke O'Brien has limitations. While we know God uses all people including the weak, there are times when Luke's portrayal is too understated. This is especially illustrated by his use of the voice-over, a notoriously difficult technique to use well. The approach comes across as text being read, rather than speaking with passion or direction. Overall, the theme of Suing the Devil is about finding out who you are in relation to God. What do you truly believe in, love and therefore follow? These are worthy themes to consider.
The DVD is available from your closest Christian retailer or from http://www.movieschangepeople.com