Devil's Own [1997]

Any movie starring Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford has got to be worth seeing, right? That's as close to a guarantee as this well-meaning thriller ever gets, however, and the talents of Pitt and Ford are absolutely vital in making any sense out of this dramatically muddled scenario. Ostensibly the movie's about an IRA terrorist (Pitt) who escapes from British troops in Belfast and travels to New York City, where he stays in the home of a seasoned cop (Ford) who has no idea of the terrorist's true identity. (Why a veteran cop would host a complete stranger in his home is one of those shaky details you're better off not thinking about.) But while Pitt's passionate character waits to make an arms deal for his IRA compatriots back in Ireland, The Devil's Own conveniently avoids any detailed understanding of the Northern Ireland conflict, focusing instead on the cop's moral dilemma when he discovers that his young guest is a terrorist. The film is superbly acted, and overall it's quite worthwhile, but don't look to it for an abundance of plot logic or an in-depth understanding of Protestant-Catholic tensions in Northern Ireland. (For that, take a look at In the Name of the Father or the underrated historical biopic Michael Collins.) --Jeff Shannon.

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