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Movie Review: Terror's Advocate

Alternate Title: The Devil's Advocate

Story: First, kill all the lawyers is a punch line to a very old joke. After seeing this fascinating documentary about lawyer Jacques Verges by Barbet Schroeder (Reversal of Fortune) you might not think that line very funny.

What do Pol Pot, Klaus Barbie, Carlos the Jackal and Slobodan Milosevic have in common? Jacques Verges has represented them all in court for their various crimes against humanity. Verges has spent his entire public, yet very mysterious life defending the seemingly indefensible.

Schroeder had unprecedented access to Verges over many years of interviews. We follow his convoluted life starting with his defense of Djamila Bouried in the 1950's in Algiers (who he later married) through what only can be described as a connect the dots chart consisting of a rogue's gallery of mass murderers, conspirators, dictators and thugs.82 year old Verges comes off as smug, bloated, sinister, fascinating, egotist and a person who thrives in the limelight of controversy and publicity.

This is an enthralling, long, difficult film to follow but Schroeder has done his best using explanatory visual techniques so that even the least informed persons can get the gist of the series of events where we amazingly find Verges smack in the middle.

If you are a student of history and like challenging documentaries, this film is for you.

Acting: Not applicable - it is a documentary.

Predilection: I like documentaries

Blatant Product Placement: Terrorism

Opening Titles: The opening finds Verges defending Pol Pot - quite a grabber.

Theater Audience: A handful of politically active movie goers.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Watching Verges defend the indefensible was very squirmy indeed.

Drift Factor: This film does not allow drifting. You will be lost if you drift or take a popcorn run.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: To long at 132 minutes and apparently it has been cut down from the original shown at film festivals.