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L' Avocat de la Terreur (Terror's Advocate) (2007)



Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 43
Fresh: 37 | Rotten: 6

Terror's Advocate is a fascinating portrayal of a controversial political figure; both morally unsettling and emotionally gripping.


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 1

Terror's Advocate is a fascinating portrayal of a controversial political figure; both morally unsettling and emotionally gripping.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 1,924

My Rating

Movie Info

Filmmaker Barbet Schroeder transcends the borders of the political and judiciary arenas to explore the mystery of a man who stands up for some of society's most deplorable figures. Enigmatic lawyer Jacques Vergès began his career by defending Djamila Bouhired -- an activist who became the manifestation of the people's hunger for freedom -- during the Algerian War of Independence. Later, after marrying his client and adopting an anti-colonialist stance, Vergès disappeared from the public eye for

Feb 19, 2008

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October 11, 2007:
Critical Consensus: No Debatin' Clayton, Night Almost Owns, Elizabeth Not Golden
This week at the movies we got lawyer types (Michael Clayton, starring George Clooney and Tilda...


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All Critics (45) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (6) | DVD (2)

The movie functions crackingly well as a non-fiction international thriller.

November 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The lawyer's intense isolation, his solitary, perverse rage against the world, against France, against conventional opinion, is felt most deeply.

November 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Schroeder's film, which combines interviews with many of the key figures in Vergès' career with grainy historical footage, lets its subject speak for itself but leaves little doubt of where the filmmaker stands.

November 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For just a moment, ignore politics. Consider Jacques Vergès simply as star. The radical French lawyer is an absolutely compelling figure onscreen: exotic, resolute, beguilingly smug.

November 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Jacques Vergès makes for compelling documentary film fodder: He is arrogant, cosmopolitan, politically unpredictable and enmeshed in the roots of modern international terrorism.

November 2, 2007 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A panorama of European radicalism.

October 25, 2007 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ainda que falhe em decifrar seu complexo protagonista, o documentário estabelece um intrigante retrato de um homem cujos princípios morais e ideológicos eventualmente se tornam tão flexíveis quanto o espectro alcançado por sua clientela.

February 28, 2009
Cinema em Cena

At its best, the documentary shows us an unsavory character answering a bunch of softball questions and whose best logic is to play the Third World race card.

January 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

As riveting as it is dizzying, Schroeder's documentary thriller takes a mesmerising ad hominem approach to twentieth century terror, offering up for our judgement an advocate whose views ought to be indefensible.

May 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Though the film comes with a warning that it expresses only the point of view of its director, in reality, what Schroeder seems to offer is a portrait of a glib man who simply defies any conclusive description.

January 30, 2008 Full Review Source:

If Terror's Advocate doesn't precisely interrogate the rise of terrorism, it does look at its romance and consider its effectiveness.

January 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Nitrate Online
Nitrate Online

Schroeder's approach to this controversial figure is more plodding than it should be.

November 30, 2007
Salt Lake Tribune

[I]ntriguing enough, if a bit dry. But then a flick that seemed newsy, almost wonky, turns riveting...

November 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

If you want to see a who's who in terror, just take a peek at this guy's client list.

November 21, 2007 Full Review Source:

Barbet Schroeder's astonishing documentary is a glimpse into another world, and not one you would necessarily want to visit for too long.

November 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

While the man [Vergès] has a snappy aphorism for every question, he remains as imponderable and enigmatic as the Sphinx.

November 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

It's a movie that cries out for a good editor.

October 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Daily News

So loaded with information, the "fog of war" morphs into a more enveloping fog of politics and ethics.

October 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

An often gripping doc using never-before seen archival films about the self-assured, unrepentant Jacques Verges, who defended some of the most loathsome terrorists and political criminals in modern history.

October 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Compuserve

Audience Reviews for L' Avocat de la Terreur (Terror's Advocate)

[font=Century Gothic]Once upon a time, Barbet Schroeder directed a movie called "Reversal of Fortune" starring Jeremy Irons, Ron Silver and Glenn Close about lawyer Alan Dershowitz appealing the attempted murder conviction of Claus von Bulow. At one point in the movie, Dershowitz remarks that the one thing they have going for them is that everbody hates von Bulow.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The point that all accused of a crime require someone to defend them no matter how despised they may be is also at the heart of Schroeder's latest film, "Terror's Advocate," a fascinating documentary about lawyer Jacques Verges who has defended a wide range of controversial people from Algerian terrorists to Klaus Barbie.(But he said he would only defend George Bush if he plead guilty.) Another question posed is how far a lawyer can go in defending his client and does Verges in fact cross that line by passing messages and materials between clients in prison, along with providing extralegal advice?[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Verges has always been a supporter of anti-colonial and indepedence movements since Algeria in the 1950's but he is too fond of the high life to get his hands dirty. While some of these conflicts may be viewed as heroic conflicts, some rebels use methods that are simply reprehensible. Or in other words: the enemy of my enemy is not my friend. And I would like to take this space to point out that violence never solves anything.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]And how did they ever get Pol Pot to speak on camera?[/font]
October 13, 2007
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Someone has to defend them I suppose. Here is the tale of the man who defends the undefendable. A friend of Carlos the Jackal and Nazis etc. The question to be asked why anyone would seek to assist these individuals. While the film doesn't end up definitively answering those questions, it nonetheless gives us a portrait of a unique if not defendable individual.
November 13, 2012
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Terror's Advocate (L'Avocat de la terreur) (DE)
  • Terror's Advocate (L'Avocat de la terreur) (UK)
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