The Devil's Own (1997)

Harrison Ford as Tom O'Meara in The Devil's Own (1997)

The Devil can Keep It

It is said that Brad Pitt tried to leaved "The Devil's Own" as the production was a mess and it wasn't the movie he signed on to make thanks to script rewrites. I can see why because any movie which features the IRA should have depth yet there is none of that here and instead we get a rather routine action thriller which relies heavily on the likeability of Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford to make it work. In fact my advice to anyone who is thinking of watching "The Devil's Own" do so only if they want to watch Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford in an action thriller rather than for what it should be about.

With the British Intelligence closing in on him in Ireland, terrorist Francis Austin McGuire (Brad Pitt - Sleepers) heads to America under the alias of Rory Devaney where he is given digs with Irish-American cop Tom O'Meara (Harrison Ford - Clear and Present Danger) and his family. Rory is in fact in America on IRA business to buy weapons and then ship them back home with the help of fellow sympathizers such as Megan Doherty (Natascha McElhone). But spending time with Tom and his family leads to a friendship which will make him choose between peace or a continued life of crime.

Brad Pitt as Rory Devaney in The Devil's Own (1997)

So as already mention Brad Pitt wanted out of making "The Devil's Own" when it became apparent that it was not the movie he signed on to make with rewrites and on set fighting making it a mess. And in truth I can see why because here we have a movie which features the IRA a powerful subject yet it treats it in a less than powerful way. In fact the end result is a movie which could be about any group of terrorists as the IRA end up purely a plot device and one which is unrealistically treated. As such trust me when I say that "The Devil's Own" is not a movie to watch if your interest lies in the Irish conflict because the chances are you might end up insulted.

What that means is that instead of being a gritty, realistic drama "The Devil's Own" ends up an average action thriller with a good guy and a baddy guy who become friends. For all the drama surrounding Rory buying weapons in America and having to deal with threats the end result lies on the friendship which has formed between Tom and Rory and what they will do when forced in to a confrontation. Will Rory kill the man who he has come to befriend and will Tom kill Rory despite understanding his motives after learning his father was murdered in front of him as a child. And yes that means everything boils down to those final scenes where Tom discovers the truth about his house guest and goes after him.

What this also means is that "The Devil's Own" is a movie which is reliant on its stars Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford to make it work and ignoring a certain actors accent they are both solid in what their characters are. You can feel the growing warmth that Rory has for Tom and his family whilst with Tom you can sense his conflict as he understands Rory's reasons but as a lawman can't support him. But these are not amazing performances from either Pitt or Ford and the same can be said of the supporting cast which features Rubén Blades, Natascha McElhone and Treat Williams.

What this all boils down to is that "The Devil's Own" probably was originally conceived to be a gritty drama centring on personal conflicts when it comes to the activities of the IRA. But the end result is a standard action thriller which relies heavily on the likeability of Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford to make it work and watched for any other reason than for its stars will leave you disappointed.