“Suing The Devil” concerns Australian law student Luke O’Brien (Bart Bronson), a long-haired rockstar-type and devout Christian having “the worst year of [his] life.” His mother was killed by a drunk driver, his wife is nursing a mysterious Movie Cough… gas prices are too high! To O’Brien, this is a sign that the world has gone wrong, and Satan is to blame. The only logical realization is that Satan needs to be sued. Specifically for eight trillion dollars, and yes he is serious, and no, no one ever asks how he came to that specific cash amount.
After supplying court documents to major law firms, goth teens and strip club purveyors, O’Brien is prepared to be kicked out of court after having made his point, when into the picture steps Malcolm McDowell, clad in all-black, in dark shades, looking desperately like a hopelessly square old man trying to be hip. Satan smiles and laughs at everyone’s attentions, pulling off cheap parlor tricks and, in one scene, kneecapping a Kiss fan and proclaiming himself “a Tom Jones man.”
Once the trial begins, it’s clear that the filmmakers have never once set foot in an actual courtroom. McDowell’s entire legal team of terrible actors take turns mugging for the camera, screaming random objections and badgering each and every witness while drenched in flop sweat. O’Brien is equally unprofessional, consistently changing his character’s aim in the trial, resorting to name-calling and Bible-quoting, which, given the nature of this case, is completely endorsed by the judge. O’Brien also appears unclear as to whether he’s pinning his own pedestrian struggles on the Devil, or suggesting Satan is responsible for all evil in the world. It’s cruel to say it more than once, but this inconsistency further illustrates that Bart Bronson may be one of the worst actors to ever read dialogue off a printed page.
The idea of taking Satan to court is a funny one, and it opens a Pandora’s Box of possibilities. But “Suing The Devil” is startlingly simpleminded, as when O’Brien puts an oil executive onto the stand and chastises him for being a capitalist and atheist, as if good and evil had any bearing on this man’s free enterprise. The ideas behind the film are laughably primitive, and it’s startling to see an actor of McDowell’s caliber swept up in them. At the point where Satan begins taking credit for gangsta rap, it’s clear that the ignorance that powers this film is borderline dangerous. It pretends it’s a comedy when one lawyer rants like Jim Carrey in front of extras forced to laugh as if by gunpoint, and then declares itself a drama when O’Brien has to answer character assassination claims that he used a curse word once. In short, it’s embarrassing on almost every level, poorly written, shot, scored and edited and bereft of a single idea, interesting or otherwise. [F]
"Suing The Devil" is out now on VOD.