Why is it that every New York cop ready to retire in Hollywood happens to end up in the biggest case of his life? Such is the case with the dull thriller The Devil’s Own. Despite a great cast headlined by Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt, the movie never gains momentum to become anything other than a dull exercise in how not to write a script.
Actually, it’s not fair to blame the script. Brad Pitt was adamant about the film being changed numerous times mid-production to the point where he tried to walk off the film. Contracts kept him on. That could partially explain his unbelievable Irish accent simply because he didn’t care.
Pitt is an Irish IRA agent stuck inside a muddled script that’s both unclear and confusing. Ford, playing a veteran New York police officer, is housing Pitt while he’s in the US to complete a weapons deal. Why the IRA thought a cop would be a good person to house a terrorist with is just one of many baffling occurrences.
Trailers attempt to pitch this as an action film, but Devil’s Own is anything but. It’s more of a character study about a man who has lived a tragic life after seeing his father shot dead in front of him as a child. Unfortunately, that character is never very interesting, and Brad Pitt isn’t Irish.
When the film finally gains some momentum, it’s too late. Ford finally realizes his new houseguest is a terrorist, and it seems like maybe the third act will come together. However, after a brief kick-start, it’s more of the same. Dull and unexciting, Devil’s Own is a mish-mash of ideas and not much of a movie. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]
As with most ‘90s movies coming to hi-def, Devil’s Own doesn’t fare too well. Immediately apparent is some heavy black crush, although this clears up later in the film. Everything has an orange tint to it, messing with flesh tones and skylines. Colors bleed, blotting out detail. The image is mostly soft, with minor sharpness. There are brief moments of quality facial detail, but these are unfortunately rare. Thankfully, it looks free of artificial enhancement. It’s middle of the road fare without much to make it stand out. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Video]
A TrueHD mix delivers little in the way of activity. The opening shoot out sequence is disappointingly flat. There’s almost nothing going on in the surrounds leaving the entire scene a front-loaded example of how this shouldn’t sound. Later gunfire doesn’t change anything. Minor ambiance, such as a scene on a subway, is the only notable surround use. Dialogue is well mixed and clear. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Audio]
Aside from some random trailers, there’s nothing else to look at. [xrr rating=1/5 label=Extras]