The Devil's Own

on March 28, 1997 by Dwayne E. Leslie
   As Frankie McGuire (Brad Pitt) and his IRA comrades wage war against the British army, one battle fact becomes clear: The opponent's helicopters must be dealt with if his group is to having a fighting chance. To avoid being captured, McGuire leaves Ireland, goes to America and adopts an alias. Now known as Rory, he sets out to procure stinger missiles for his ultimate mission. For lodging, arrangements are made for him to stay with a New York City police officer, Sgt. O'Meara (Harrison Ford). Not knowing about his boarder's past, O'Meara befriends him, meaning McGuire has a perfect hiding place--until his terrorist past catches up with him and puts the lives of O'Meara and his family in jeopardy.
   "The Devil's Own" during shooting generated negative press coverage about antagonistic stars, and during post-production it was lambasted by Pitt; in its final-cut version, the movie belongs to Pitt. As the leading member of the supporting cast, Ford makes key appearances as part of several situations that go bad, while Pitt gets to display his new Irish accent. Only in the last fourth of the movie do the two mix it up, but the one-on-one climax is nowhere close to being as good as what audiences might expect for these two boxoffice titans, in that its utter predictability diminishes any intended suspense.
   The movie's draggy pace is also surprising. Although that slowness allows the filmmakers to enrich their tale with bonding drama--"The Devil's Own" has the feel of the art-house about it that one might expect of foreign-language fare--the studio's marketing strategy emphasizes the action that, overall, "The Devil's Own" doesn't deliver. This one will need the luck of the Irish to deliver and keep broad mainstream numbers. Starring Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Margaret Colon and Treat Williams. Directed by Alan Pakula. Written by Kevin Jarre and Robert Mark Kamen. Produced by Lawrence Gordon and Robert Colesberry. A Columbia release. Action/drama. Rated R for strong brutal violence, and for language. Running time: 110 min
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