Kathy is married to Peter. Now she can't help but wonder how things could have been if she got together with her old boyfriend, Tom. Being married prevents from doing that so she asks her ... See full summary »
Harley Jane Kozak,
A thriller about an IRA gunman who draws an American family into the crossfire of terrorism. Frankie McGuire is one of the IRA's deadliest assassins. But when he is sent to the U.S. to buy weapons, Frankie is housed with the family of Tom O'Meara, a New York cop who knows nothing about Frankie's real identity. Their surprising friendship, and Tom's growing suspicions, force Frankie to choose between the promise of peace or a lifetime of murder. Written by
Robert Lynch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Brad Pitt wanted to leave the production, but was threatened by a lawsuit. In the February 2, 1997, issue of Newsweek, Pitt called the film a "disaster", and said that "it was the most irresponsible bit of filmmaking - if you can even call it that - that I've ever seen. I couldn't believe it". Rumors of fighting on the set (especially over which star would be the focus of the film) plagued the production. The original script was discarded and there were at least seven subsequent rewrites. Pitt said the final version was "a mess". "The script that I had loved was gone," he said. "I guess people just had different visions and you can't argue with that. But then I wanted out and the studio head said, 'All right, we'll let you out, but it'll be $63 million for starters." (Harrison Ford later noted that Pitt "forgot for a moment that he was talking to someone whose job it was to write this s*** down".) See more »
During the first shoot out Frankie yells to Ronnie and points to him. We see Ronnie turn the corner and start to shoot. However if you look closely debris is falling "upward". Obviously the shot is in reverse. The same shot is repeated moments later but correctly. See more »
Better if you do not expect an action (and especially not a thriller) film
As a child in Ireland, Frankie McGuire (Brad Pitt) sees his dad gunned down for his involvement with the Irish Republican Army (IRA). As an adult, McGuire has followed in his dad's footsteps. When the IRA decides it needs more firepower, they hatch a plan that involves McGuire going to the United States to pick up a shipment of Stinger missiles. Through American IRA contacts, McGuire adopts a false identity and housing is arranged with a non-involved Irish family headed by New York City cop Tom O'Meara (Harrison Ford).
There is an impression that The Devil's Own is an action film. The Internet Movie Database has it listed as "Action/Drama/Thriller". Although there are some action elements in the film, this is really a tragic drama, almost in a classical sense, and it's best to approach the film with only that genre in mind. The plot is fairly complex and the film tends to move slowly--much more slowly than a typical actioner or thriller.
The heart of the story is McGuire's relationship with O'Meara and his family. All of the other material--the IRA stuff, the mob and terrorist stuff, the New York City cop stuff, and so on, are not the focus. Those elements are present to help establish characterization, to build the relationship and understanding between McGuire and O'Meara, and to provide a justification for the developments in the film, and particularly the conclusion, which all have poignant things to say about the decisions that we make and why we make them.
The film largely succeeds if seen from this dramatic perspective. It's not quite a 10, however, as it always seems slightly distanced from the viewer. It's an 8 out of 10 for me.
(This comment was originally posted on January 16, 2005 and ended with the above. The following was added much later after reading through some other user comments:) We should not forget that even though it takes elements from the real world to construct its story, The Devil's Own is NOT intended to be journalistic or a documentary. There is no claim that it is giving an accurate portrayal of political situations, and it's not intended to campaign for one side or another in a real-world political situation. This is fiction, folks, and should be judged _as fiction_. For that, you should forget about what you know of the real world, and assess the story, images and sounds you experience from your television. Does the story work as a self-contained entity? Are the performances good? Is it visually attractive/rewarding? Those are the kinds of things we should be judging.
For me, The Devil's Own succeeded as a drama about relationships, with its poignancy arrived at primarily by making two people from very different worlds, with very different outlooks, learn to see things from different perspectives.
That's great if you're very knowledgeable about Northern Ireland in the real world and if you have strong opinions about terrorism. However, your knowledge and opinions on that stuff have nothing to do with this film.
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