Tamas Harangi talks about new film “The Advocate”

Enthralled with films as a young boy in Hungary, where he made his own Super 8 movies, Tamas Harangi came to America at the age of 19 to study filmmaking. Since then he’s held pretty much every position you can find on a movie set. His first feature film, “The Advocate,” which he both wrote and directed, was a film festival favorite and was recently released on DVD. Tamas sat down with me to talk about his new film and what we can expect next.

Mike Smith: Can you give us a little info on “The Advocate?”
Tamas Harangi: “The Advocate” is a thriller about a defense attorney who has never lost a case in his life. He takes on a case defending a woman accused of murdering her husband and begins to get a bad feeling. He begins to investigate as to whether his client is guilty or not and gets wrapped up in the mystery of it all. He encounters a lot of twists and turns up to the very end.

MS: You also wrote the script. Was it inspired by a real-life event or just something that came to you?
TH: I’ve always liked films that dealt with crime and the legal system. I had an idea for a story and began discussing it with my producing partner, who’s actually an attorney. I picked his brain about the legal system. I started writing the script and would go over certain aspects of the story with him.

MS: You grew up in Hungary. Is that where you first developed an interest in making movies?
TH: Yes. I actually made several short films while I was in high school. I won a couple of awards at various festivals and several of my films were shown on Hungarian National Television. I came out to California to try and break into Hollywood and that’s where I’m living.

MS: Were you exposed to a lot of Western filmmaking as a youngster?
TH: We did get a fair amount of American films, only we wouldn’t get them until a few years had passed. But I grew up on “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” like everyone else (laughs). Only we got them a couple or three years after they’d been released. We’d see advertising for these movies in magazines and have to wait years to see them. I watched a lot of those as well as a lot of French movies…great French comedies. Those were my main influences.

MS: Did you have a favorite filmmaker that you wanted to emulate?
TH: Sure. At the time I was, of course, inspired by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas and what they were doing at the time. As I began studying film and learning about the craft of it I was greatly inspired by Alfred Hitchcock. He is what inspired “The Advocate.” A “Hitchcockian” tone is what I was going for. But really, all of the greats…Billy Wilder, Woody Allen…I grew up on their movies and they’re influential as well.

MS: What are you working on next?
TH: I’ve been busy finishing up “The Advocate” and getting it into festivals. I’ve been busy writing as well. I have a new thriller that I’m almost finished with…the first draft is almost complete. I also have a couple other ideas that I’m working on and developing.

Blu-ray Review “Devil’s Advocate: Unrated Director’s Cut”

Directed by: Taylor Hackford
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, Jeffrey Jones, Connie Nielson
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Running Time: 144 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Vanity, definitely my favorite sin”. One of my favorite lines any film. Al Pacino gives one of his best roles to date. He is just so fucking evil in this film and yet you still are routing for him to rule. Keanu Reeves also does a great job prior to all his “The Matrix” slow-motion fighting. This film include the Unrated Director’s Cut of the film, though I never really noticed a major difference between the cuts. The film is a ripe 2 hours and 15 mins but it really owns every single minute. I remember sneaking into this film in theaters and running out of the theaters completely in love with it. Well 15 years have passed and I only love this film more. I highly recommend this Blu-ray release, completely worth the upgrade.

The 1080p transfer on the Blu-ray just looks amazing. Warner did up this film right and doesn’t disappoint at all. The audio includes an DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, which works perfectly with the film’s sharp dialogue and of course the amazing score, courtesy of James Newton Howard. Th special features are ports from the 1998 DVD but are still decent. There is a commentary by director Taylor Hackford, decent overall. There are twelve deleted scenes with optional commentary from Hackford (unlike the DVD where it was not optional). Overall, I enjoyed these quite a bit. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included. I wish they would have done a little more to celebrate the film’s 15th anniversary but overall still a nice release.

Kevin Lomax (Reeves), an ambitious, talented young district attorney, joins a powerful New York law firm headed by the mysterious and charismatic John Milton (Pacino). as Lomax faces the intense seduction of success and money, he is increasingly tempted.

Buy It 9/18 on Blu-ray
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