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R: ARCHIVE, S: REVIEWS, D: 03/27/1997,

The Devil's Own

After all the media hype -- Brad Pitt publicly dissing the film, budget soaring to $90 million -- The Devil's Own turns out to be an expensive TV-movie with star turns rather than performances from Pitt and Harrison Ford. Not that they aren't good in this story of hunted IRA provo Frankie McGuire (Pitt), who comes to New York to swing a missile deal, only to have one of the city's finest, Sergeant Tom O'Meara (Ford), get in the way. The violence and unexpected deaths are unnerving, but the treatment of the situation in the six counties of Northern Ireland is pat, and so is the resolution (this is a Hollywood film, so you know the IRA aren't going to get the missiles). Besides, The Devil's Own isn't really about Ireland; it's about Brad Pitt as a James Bond-like IRA stud (he even shoots a mean game of pool) and Harrison Ford as a Ralph Waite-like Walton father figure. Everything else proceeds according to formula -- too bad it's not one that can solve Ireland's real problems. At the Cheri, the Fresh Pond, and the Circle and in the suburbs.

-- Jeffrey Gantz