Kevin Lomax is an aspiring Florida defense lawyer who works out of intentions that work for his own good. After all, winning the case is a good intention! Lomax is a naturally gifted lawyer. He can see things others don’t. But only a keen eye would see what Lomax doesn't. That not all victory is good.
Kevin does what he does in order to bring his case to a winning end, no matter the cost. Even when the cost is not telling the truth. Even when (and later in the movie, it appears only when) his suspect clients are guilty and he dislikes them. Yet continues to help win the case. Why is Lomax doing it? Why would any lawyer do what they do? To serve the community, of course. And make some money. Oh yes, money is just the details.
The movie contains two scenes that appropriate the protagonist's choices between good and evil. In the beginning of the movie, he makes the choice in favor for the devil, when he puts on a fake grin in the mirror as a reaction to something his colleague said in the bathroom on a break. A bathroom is a hidden, secret place.
Destiny Scene 1: Lying is choice for the devil
The movie opens with a court case and a trial of a young teenage girl Barbara. She is portrayed as an innocent child. And as most children are, probably really are. Who would confront conscience at this age? She is a kid and made a few dumb mistakes. In particular, playing a sex game with some creepy teacher at her school, that Lomax is actually trying to defend and justify. It is obvious that she is the victim. But Lomax is struggling with his own denial of what is true. Above all, he justifies himself.
Wins the case against Barbara, what can you say? He is a good lawyer! Convicted innocence of a child and justified the creepy child molester. Victory is celebrated at a party where he drinks with his girlfriend Mary Ann (Charlize Theron) that throughout the movie he affectionately calls “Mare”. They are both at the party with their best friends, a little buzzed. Where a mysterious man offers Lomax a letter with invitation to work in New York City at a prestigious firm. At first Kevin doesn’t believe it and jokes about it, pretending he is not drunk enough to fall for something like that. Surely, his friends set him up.
But the man persists, and Kevin learns that the man is serious about the deal, when he reads the letter he is handed with a proposal contract to work for John Milton, the famous New York lawyer. Kevin takes the deal and travels to New York with Mare. In the next scene of the movie we see him take a "test" case just to try him out, in a setting that is so different from Florida environment he is so used to.
His natural lawyer skills remain and he wins the case using obscure logic that weaves around inherent human insecurities and weaknesses. (An aged good Catholic woman on the jury board seems angry to him, waiting to vent by accusing someone else, so he takes her out from the board because her irrationality might get in the way of him winning the case.) Lomax'es motive is to win. And he will do anything to win. Is that a weakness of his own?
Mr. Milton (Al Pacino) watches his behavior from around the corner out on the street, as Lomax walks out of the court room.
Mother who goes to Church, lets him go to New York City against her will At one point later in the movie Milton asks Lomax who his mother is, and he says “she’s a preacher’s daughter. She’s tough.” She hates to let him go to modern day “Babylon”.
Lomax is in NYC, and is being tested by being assigned a case. He uses his quirky analysis despite supposedly more experienced NYC lawyers He wins the case in just 38 minutes. Even though the man was obviously guilty. But that’s what Lomax is good at.
The case. Milton and Lomax take a walk on Milton’s tower top, where swimming pool falls right off the edge. Milton doesn’t doubt Lomax’es talent. But he is curious about whether Lomax can maintain his focus under pressure. At which Lomax responds by bringing up money. For Milton, that's the easy part.
Lomax’es girlfriend loves staying in New York City with her boyfriend. She hates the idea of going back to Florida, and loves the accommodations provided by Mr. Milton for their stay at a luxurious NY apartment. Milton covers the rent and food. Everything. Money is not a problem.
Milton introduces Kevin to his entire team. About 15 men and women, one of which Kevin finds himself attracted to. Eddie Barzoon is the management director. Kevin relationship to his girlfriend seems to flourish, minus the occasionally unsettling atmosphere.
Kevin is shown a video tape with cops who find a man who is sacrificing a goat underground settlement, at an abandoned neighborhood. Candles are lit everywhere. “health code” investigation. (books upon books of NYC health codes)
Kevin meets this odd character in person. He says to him "We have an investment in blood. Think of it as spiritual currency” , and asks arnold merto — and prepares "a tongue”, as if making some kind of a curse or spell.
Meanwhile his girlfriend paints walls in her apartment. Uses different colors. And wallpaper. She starts loosing her mind, because she has absolutely nothing else to do. She is irritated at being bored. In the evenings she spends time with Milton’s women. In one conversation [that woman] tells her You have the 3 choices: Holy trinity: work, play, breed.
Meanwhile in the courtroom the case goes on. Kevin tries to convince his honor the judge that due to religious practices, protected by constitution, the man is not guilty.
Something supernatural happens in the courtroom. Arnold Merto starts to choke out of nowhere. The black man stares at him, which feels as though he is the one causing it (remember the tongue preparations earlier)
Milton shows Kevin around the city.
Kevin and his g/f Mary Ann go to a high class party, while in elevator, she asks Kevin to keep together. This is a big party, that even Donald Trump is invited. Kevin and g/f part and Kevin glances at other women. While Milton meets kevin’s g/f who is hanging out with his other women by now. Milton himself is flirting and seducing Kevin’s g/f by complimenting on her hair. Meanwhile he follows some other woman (who turns out to be Christabella) at the party.
While still at the party Milton invites kevin to his main office which is decorated in strange, architectural design, that appears to mimic swirly white angel wings. They look unlike any recognizable object, like a veil… something one can be sucked into. Which is exactly what the meeting seems to be about. Milton has an idea.
Kevin comes back home, at his upset g/f, she is crying at the fact that he left her at the party. And she had a panic attack. Kevin broke his promise he made earlier in the elevator when they were going up to the party. She slams the door.
They convince the biggest real estate construction manager to cooperate.
Things start to get weird, in dressing room Mary Ann and Milton’s women. Mary Ann is starting to see things, that aren’t happening. Or so she things. Is it the stress? Or is it actually happening.
They’re in apartment again. Sex scene with changing women. Mary Ann switches to another woman. Oddly enough Kevin feels more excited about the other woman that Mary Ann shape shifts into. In his imagination, he is making love to someone else.
The plot thickens.
Mary Ann continues to go crazy. She sees a vision of a child in the apartment. When she gets close, and asks the child to tell her what he is playing with, apparently it is her own bloody, pulpy insides (ovaries). She looks at her stomach to find a bloody blotches on her dress. It’s a nightmare vision, that Mary Ann can’t tell from dream or reality. She strongly believes it actually happened. Her sisters had 7 children her mother had a derek. Mary Ann can’t have children. Nonspecific ovarian failure. Mary Ann is acting totally crazy and paranoid.
Mom encounter. Milton turns out to be Kevin’s dad.
Long confrontation scene between Milton and Kevin. subjects: God, Devil. Free will.
Destiny Scene 2: Choice against the devil: To tell the truth.
As if the entire movie happened in that one single moment.