L' Avocat de la Terreur (Terror's Advocate) (2007)
Critic Consensus: Terror's Advocate is a fascinating portrayal of a controversial political figure; both morally unsettling and emotionally gripping.
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Critic Reviews for L' Avocat de la Terreur (Terror's Advocate)
The movie functions crackingly well as a non-fiction international thriller.
The lawyer's intense isolation, his solitary, perverse rage against the world, against France, against conventional opinion, is felt most deeply.
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.
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.
Jacques Vergès makes for compelling documentary film fodder: He is arrogant, cosmopolitan, politically unpredictable and enmeshed in the roots of modern international terrorism.
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]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]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]And how did they ever get Pol Pot to speak on camera?[/font]
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.
This is as close to amazing as a life can get. Mind blowing documentary on a controverted character and the relationship with his unorthodox clients, as well as that white line that a lawyer must not pass in order to keep him or herself neutral about specific cases.
It depicts the relation and divorce of a character with the dogmas he believed in and lost faith in on all levels of life.
I would've liked to see this in a series for the amount of information gathered in such a short lapse of time.
You think you live in a perfect world, think again and watch this film.
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