Review: Irish have no luck in 'The Devil's Own'
March 27, 1997
Web posted at: 6:15 a.m. EST
From Movie Reviewer Carol Buckland
(CNN) -- "The Devil's Own" illustrates why Harrison Ford and
Brad Pitt are stars. Even when the material they are working
with is a so-so mishmash, these two are compelling.
The film casts Pitt as an IRA killer named Frankie McGuire,
who comes to the United States under an alias to buy Stinger
missiles for his cause. An American IRA sympathizer arranges
for him to stay with the family of a stalwart Irish-American
cop named Tom O'Meara (Ford).
O'Meara has no clue about the real identity of his beguiling
guest until it's too bloody late for him to do anything other
than try to keep Frankie alive and bring him to justice.
Pitt, Ford keep things moving
The heart of this film is the problematic relationship
between Frankie and Tom. While the territory covered is not
particularly new (indeed, the conflicts played out are
similar to those explored in the much-better "Donnie
Brasco"), Pitt and Ford keep things interesting.
Pitt acquits himself extremely well in the flashier role.
His Belfast accent is effective (if a bit hard to understand
at times) and he lets the deadness of Frankie's soul seep
through at even his most charming moments. Ford exudes
strength and decency; he also loosens up nicely in the film's
Alan J. Pakula's direction is uneven; some scenes are overly
portentous, others are sloppy in their execution. The last
half hour, in particular, is pretty messy.
Characters hampered by weak script
That this production had script problems during filming is no
secret. Unfortunately, a lot of the problems didn't get
resolved before "The Devil's Own" reached the screen.
The plot gets extremely murky at several points, and a number
of secondary characters -- notably Ford's partner (Ruben
Blades) and Frankie's female accomplice (Natasha McElhone) --
are a mix of cardboard and cliche.
"The Devil's Own" has some strong moments and will likely
burnish Pitt's reputation as an actor and a heartthrob. But
it's basically a cut-and-paste bunch of violence and blarney.
While this film runs almost two hours, it seems longer
because of the pacing. It's rated R for violence (lots of
bullets and blood) and profane language.
Related sites: Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.