The Devil’s Own (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Eleven years ago Brad Pitt was still a huge movie star, but he wasnt alone at the top much like he is now. He had company. One of those men who helped rake in their share of dollars in the 80s and 90s was one Harrison Ford. Lets set the picture: Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford two of the biggest stars in 1997 were set to star in a movie together, so it would unquestionably be the biggest movie ever. Right? Wrong. The movie was called The Devils Own and the budget ran upwards of 80 million dollars. I remember seeing the movie when it came out and after watching the newly-released Blu-ray I have no idea what could have cost 80 million except that a large portion of that went to pay Mr. Pitt and Mr. Ford. That aside we have the Hollywood heartthrob in Brad Pitt set against his golden boy image and the everyman Harrison Ford as one of New Yorks finest. Been there, done that you say? Audiences thought that as well.

Pitt plays Francis McGuire (Frankie), someone who has seen his father shot and killed in front of his very eyes. This leads him to a life in the IRA and hes become known as one of the most dangerous men in the world. Frankie has to flee Ireland and makes his way to New York where hes arranged to stay with Tom OMeara (Harrison Ford), a police sergeant and good family man. Frankie is now Rory Devaney and he is immediately accepted and welcomed by Toms family. Naturally we know that Rory/Frankie will be up to no good and this is confirmed when he purchases some missiles from local gangster Billy Burke (Treat Williams). Tom eventually pieces things together (by accident, no less) and now must make a choice as to let Frankie go on with his ways or do the right thing and bring him in.

I enjoyed The Devils Own when it came out and it was nice to see it again. Its not the best movie out there and not even Pitt or Fods better roles, but its well-written and directed and makes for a good drama. The problem with the film is that it was overhyped (imagine that) and will always be labeled as such. Pitts accent sounds like that of a leprechaun and I think he did much better a few years later with his role in Snatch. If youre looking for other films involving the same subject matter, Id suggest Patriot Games ironically enough starring Harrison Ford. Look for an early appearance by Julia Stiles as Toms eldest daughter. Lastly, this was the last (or one of the last) films directed by Alan J. Pakula who died tragically in a auto accident the next year.

Video: How does it look?

The Devils Own is presented in a fairly decent-looking 2.35:1 AVC HD transfer that looks remarkably good in some scenes and leaves a little to be desired in others. I found the overall level of detail to be bumped up from the previous DVD release and colors seemed a bit brighter as well. There seems to be a few of the outdoor scenes that suffered from a bit of noise in the background and these scenes seemed a bit soft as well. Granted the movie is over ten years old, but weve seen older films look better in HD. The transfer certainly doesnt disappoint, but there are better-looking ones out there.

Audio: How does it sound?

A Dolby TrueHD track is included and I found that at some key points in the movie it really sounded amazing. Theres plenty of gunfire to keep the speakers busy for a while and dialogue sounds fairly clean and natural. As usual Pitt seems to kind of mumble his lines, but we can hear just about every instance of his Aye in the movie. Surrounds arent too prevalent, but do make their presence known especially during the first act of the movie. This TrueHD track is certainly a step up from the Dolby Digital 5.1 track found on the standard DVD.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Surprisingly this disc contains no extras aside from two trailers for Damages and Rescue Me. I can only think that this was released in anticipation of the new Indiana Jones movie and Sonys trying to cash in on anything with Harrison Ford in it.

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