Satan, Lucifer, The Prince of Darkness; whatever name he is given, the Devil is definitely the king of all bad guys in films and what better antagonist is there than the ultimate evil? What’s great about the portrayal of the devil in films is that the devil isn’t always portrayed as an over the top caricature who is red with pointy horns and a pitchfork. The devil is often shown in the guise of a human; usually because he is up to no good and trying to achieve his plans unnoticed.
Here are my top 5 devils in film:
The Devil’s Advocate
Al Pacino plays John Milton as the head of a successful law firm who invites a small town lawyer Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) to take a job in the big city. We later find out that Milton is in fact the Devil and has set up this elaborate ruse to ensure he gains an heir (the Antichrist) through Lomax. This is one of Pacino’s best performances and Milton is everything that you would assume the devil would be if he were navigating in the world today; rich, powerful, and charismatic.
The Devil only makes an appearance towards the end of this film, but it is still memorable. Ironically dressed in a white suit, the Devil comes to collect Constantine’s soul, however through a selfless deed, Constantine who was previously condemned to hell is now about to be taken to heaven. Until the Devil who can’t let him go that easily, brings him back (cancer free) in order to have another chance at taking his soul.
End of Days
In this film the Devil takes over the body of a man in a restaurant played by Gabriel Byrne and in the days leading up to the year 2000 searches for Christine York who he wants to bear his child. Eventually the body that the Devil has possessed becomes mangled by a train and it is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character Jericho Cane who briefly becomes the Devil’s puppet.
Robert De Niro is an actor who can play anything and he proved it here once again as Louis Cyphre who hires a private investigator called Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) to locate Johnny Favorite. With many twists and turns, as well as a number of murders along the way we find out that Louis is in fact Lucifer and he has orchestrated the events of the entire film in order to get the soul of Johnny Favourite.
The Passion of the Christ
If the Devil were to appear I think I would prefer it to look like De Niro or Pacino rather than this version. In Mel Gibson’s controversial 2004 film The Passion of the Christ, the Devil was played by Rosalinda Celentano and it definitely goes down as one of the most sinister and creepy portrayals of the Devil. Celentano’s androgynous appearance and hooded attire in the film create an uneasiness that audiences will find eerie to watch, especially when she is observing Jesus through the crowd whilst he is being beaten.
Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox