The final film of director Alan J. Pakula, this political thriller ends up a mixed bag with some affecting performances but a muddled theme, awkward story elements, and poorly considered character motivations that are the obvious result of the film's notorious last-minute script tinkering. The onscreen pairing of two generations' favored leading men is a terrific idea, but once Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt are actually united onscreen, the film's head of energetic steam fizzles. It is not totally believable that a supposedly intelligent, worldly cop such as the one played by Ford would accept a total stranger into his home. Neither is there much payoff to a subplot involving the cop's crooked, violent partner, a diversion of which either too much or not enough is made. In the final analysis, his Tom O'Meara comes off as a bit of a dullard. The character played by Pitt is just as problematic, playing the antagonist one minute, the wounded son out to avenge his unjustly murdered father the next. Although there are many who would like to believe otherwise, the screenplay is the blueprint of a film and if it's not constructed properly, the final result will suffer. The script for The Devil's Own (1997) isn't sure who its characters really are, and the ultimate victim of that is the audience that expects to be rocked by the teaming of two such solid, talented stars.
by Karl Williams review