Suing the Devil
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Luke O'Brien, a washed-up salesman turned night law student, decides to sue Satan for $8 trillion dollars. On the last day before Luke files a default judgement, Satan appears to defend himself. On Satan's legal team are 10 of the country's best trial lawyers. The entire world watches on LegalTV to see who will win the Trial of the Century! An epic, spiritual battle in the courtroom, "Suing the Devil" is a high-concept, faith-based legal thriller that will leave you breathless and cheering!
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The plot of the movie is that Luke O’Brien, who is a law student, realizes several emotionally charged negative situations that happen in his life. All of these culminate into his plan to murder the man who killed his mother in a drunk driving crash. He doesn’t carry through with his plan, but instead decides to sue the devil for eight-trillion dollars for creating the kind of havoc in the world O’Brien himself has experienced. The International Court of Human Rights receives the suit and demands O’Brien serve the defendant the suit. O’Brien goes about seeking out various people who may have connections with the Satan himself. He serves them the suit and asks them to pass along the information to Satan. Ultimately, he is unable to locate Satan. O’Brien returns to the court, prepared for the suit to be dismissed for lack of service to the defendant, when unexpectedly Satan arrives in the courtroom to defend himself. The suit proceeds with the devil surrounding himself with many bright and capable lawyers from prestigious law schools and firms from around the world. As the case progresses, there are several times the ebb and flow of the case lean toward Satan being victorious. During the trial, O’Brien is called to the witness stand where he faced having to publicly confess many of his own sins, including using pornography, lying, making racial slurs, and several others. Also during the trial, Gwen, O’Brien’s wife, is diagnosed with brain cancer. In the end, O’Brien forces Satan’s hand who performs and claims evil acts affecting all people, proving he is responsible for all the evil in the world.
Even though the acting and writing are melodramatic and hokey, the theology interwoven throughout the movie is solid. The presentation that we all face trouble in our lives is a very real part of life. It is also very real that even as Christians we are not above committing sin. The difference presented in the movie is that those who are Christian realize their sin, through whatever means, confess those sins, cry out to God in repentance of their sins, and turn away from their sin. In other words, the Biblical plan Paul outlines throughout Romans is how being a Christian is presented in the film.
Many scripture references are verbally spoken in the movie, and at least two pastors testify that the devil is not only real, but is responsible for chaos and evil that exists in the world. It is stated that there are 47 separate Bible verses that mention Satan by name as the devil. As the first pastor testifies, he states that the Bible says, “the devil is a roaring lion seeking who he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Another exchange happens in the courtroom that is a reference to
1 Timothy 6:10 regarding the love of money being the root of all evil in the world. Also O’Brien is tested by a statement he made asking, “God why did you do this to me?” which is shown to be blaming God for his troubles and not Satan. There is also a discussion outside the courtroom between O’Brien and Satan where the devil tells O’Brien to be careful because he could sue for slander and liable. O’Brien refutes that claim by stating truth is the defense against slander. Satan relents by saying, “Oh, yes, of course, I forgot you know the law, don’t you?” There are many other scripture references interlaced throughout the trial, and it all culminates in the most dramatic courtroom scene with O’Brien ordering Satan to “get thee behind me!” a reference to Jesus speaking to Peter in Matthew 16:23.
Several theological concepts are left incomplete and a better job could have been done in tying up the ends of those. One in particular is the notion that God could have stopped O’Brien’s mother from being killed in a drunk driving crash. This caused O’Brien to slip into a murderous rage and is ultimately what led up to the filing of the suit against the devil in the first place. An attempt was made to rectify this problem in the movie, but it was a poor attempt at best. During the trial, the devil’s defense team was examining O’Brien on the witness stand where it was brought to light that in his heart, he blamed God for the death of his mother. This problem could have been more effectively addressed throughout the movie and a stronger conclusion drawn in the end by showing how God is not responsible for his mother’s death. O’Brien’s mother’s death is a consequence of the original sin committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The idea could have been presented that death is the finality of that consequence, and that man always acts under free will. By showing that man will suffer consequences of his sin, he will realize that he is incapable of living a truly fruitful life apart from God. The devil does enter our lives and tempt us and guide our thoughts away from the righteousness of God because he exploits the one thing God gave us that he can, free will. The free will of the man who drove drunk is what caused O’Brien’s mothers tragic death, not God. If this theological concept had have been the overarching theme and was better addressed, the movie would have had a stronger and more complete premise from which to impact the audience.
In the end, Satan is defeated in court with the jury finding in favor of the plaintiff for eight-trillion dollars. The audience celebrates the victory, and suddenly O’Brien awakes in the library where he had been studying. The movie ends with O’Brien emerging from the library with a renewed focus, a realization that living is beautiful, and a new peace in realizing the goodness of a life with God in it. The final speech is theologically sound when O’Brien says he “will obey the Lord, and shun the enemy…” Satan appears in the end as a voice speaking in O’Brien’s head, tempting and challenging his convictions. O’Brien voices his conviction of being a believer in Jesus Christ, and walks into the sunset.
As is typical in this genre of movies, the acting, directing, and writing are sub-par for a movie staffed by this caliber of actor. If one positions himself to realize a movie such as this will not be the typical Hollywood movie experience, there are still many opportunities for entertainment, education, experience, and spiritual exploration to be had. The theology of this movie is Biblical. It has many opportunities for the audience to connect in real ways with the characters in their own experiences. Connecting what may appear to be disconnected scriptures may be of some help to those desiring to learn how some parts of the Bible connect to other parts. I recommend this movie as a challenge to help us with our own spiritual life experience, but not necessarily for its entertainment value.
enjoy. Malcolm McDowell was brilliant as Satan and has some scenes that I consider blockbuster material. Also, the truth revealed in this film may give you goosebumps!
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