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

Critics Consensus

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



Reviews Counted: 46

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Reviews Count: 0
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Average Rating: 3.6/5

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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 nearly a decade. Upon his return Vergès shocked the world by defending the rights of terrorists ranging from Magdalena Kopp to Anis Naccache, and even standing up for notorious Gestapo butcher Klaus Barbie. In addition to exploring the career of a man who has dedicated his life to defending the undefendable, director Schroeder also reveals the uncanny connections between the world's increasingly expansive blind terrorist networks.

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

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (18)

  • The story Schroeder unfolds is also his own-that of a generation that had its humanistic sympathies manipulated by unscrupulous people with agendas of horror.

    Jan 2, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The movie functions crackingly well as a non-fiction international thriller.

    Nov 16, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The lawyer's intense isolation, his solitary, perverse rage against the world, against France, against conventional opinion, is felt most deeply.

    Nov 16, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Nov 9, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Nov 9, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Jacques Vergès makes for compelling documentary film fodder: He is arrogant, cosmopolitan, politically unpredictable and enmeshed in the roots of modern international terrorism.

    Nov 2, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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

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.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

[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]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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