Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Communist, anticolonialist, right-wing extremist? What convictions guide the moral mind of Jacques Vergès? Barbet Schroeder takes us down history's darkest paths in his attempt to illuminate the mystery behind this enigmatic figure. As a young lawyer during the Algerian war, Vergès espoused the anticolonialist cause and defended Djamila Bouhired, "la Pasionaria," who bore her country's hopes for freedom on her shoulders and was sentenced to death for planting bombs in cafes. He obtained her release, married her, and had two children with her. Then, suddenly, at the height of an illustrious career, Vergès disappeared without trace for eight years. He reemerged from his mysterious absence and took on the defense of terrorists of all kinds, from Magdalena Kopp and Anis Naccache to Carlos the Jackal. He represented historical monsters such as Nazi lieutenant Klaus Barbie. From the lawyer's inflammatory and provocative cases to his controversial terrorist links, Barbet Schroeder follows the winding trail left by this "devil's advocate" as he forged his unique path in law and politics. Schroeder explores and questions the history of "blind terrorism" through his penetrating investigation of this compelling man, and leads us toward shocking revelations that expose long-hidden links in history. (Magnolia Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. A brilliant study in the link between moral corruption and narcissism.
  2. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Outrageous controversialist meets brilliant attorney, and fact intertwines with fiction.
  3. The title Terror's Advocate is both a statement of fact and a worrisome understatement in a documentary as slippery as its subject.
  4. Less a portrait of this controversial man than a touchstone "to trace the history of contemporary terrorism."
  5. Whatever one makes of its subject's moral code and mind-set, one has to give Terror's Advocate its due: the stories are riveting, the man is real.
  6. A fascinating film even if it never completely pins him (Verges) down.
  7. While I understand Vergès' oft-repeated claim that he wants to use these sensational cases to point out that the French were no better than the Nazis in their treatment of colonial subjects, it's impossible to overlook his glib dismissal of his clients' crimes and the smug righteousness that rests in the smirk constantly on his face.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 1 out of 1
  1. RobS.
    Apr 5, 2008
    Giving this accomplice to muder a platform is disgusting. Nothing justifies the serial killing that terrorists commit, they kill for killing's sake, if it wouldn't be for one cause it would be for another, until they could something to justify their own murderous desires. Expand