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Film / The Devil's Own

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The Devil's Own is a 1997 action thriller film starring Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt, and was directed by Alan J. Pakula, which would turn out to be the last film he made before his death a year after its release.

Frankie McGuire (Pitt), a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, comes to the United States in order to obtain anti-aircraft missiles to be used to shoot down British helicopters in Northern Ireland. The plan, however, is complicated by Tom O'Meara (Ford), an Irish-American policeman, whom the IRA member has come to regard as family. Their surprising friendship and Tom's growing suspicions, force Frankie to choose between the promise of peace or a lifetime of murder.

Tropes seen in the film:

  • Arc Words: "It's not an American story - it's an Irish one."
  • Book Ends: The film begins and ends with a scene of two men on a boat, followed by someone getting shot and killed.
  • Cop Killer: Although he doesn't want to, Frankie coldly kills Diaz to escape police custody.
  • Dirty Cop: Downplayed. A plot point is that Tom never took a bribe in his entire career. When his partner shoots a fleeing suspect that hasn't got a gun and plants it, Tom is furious and ends up wanting to retire from the force, when his partner wants to cover it up.
  • The Dreaded: Frankie has already become one by the start of the film, having been called "The Angel" by the authorities, after the Cold Open.
  • Freudian Excuse: Frankie's father was gunned down in front of him when he was eight years old.
  • Friend to All Children: Frankie gets along very well with some teenagers playing soccer at the start of the movie and all three of Tom's daughters, including their youngest, who has a crush on him.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Averted. Frankie remains on his feet for almost a minute after being shot, and stays alive and fully alert for another two minutes after he collapses before finally succumbing to his injury. Likewise with Billy Burke who is shot, still alive until he takes a shotgun blast to the face, but played straight with Edwin "Eddie" Diaz, Tom's partner.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: Frankie appears to be unharmed after engaging in a shootout... until his hands start shaking and he slowly collapses to a sitting position on the floor. His jacket is pulled open a few moments later to reveal a bullet wound in his side.
  • Officer O'Hara: Averted. Tom is of Irish decent, but he's not a native, doesn't have an accent, and doesn't display the behavior associated with the trope.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Brad Pitt is unable to maintain an Irish accent for more than a few words at a time. Even when he does manage to keep it going, it's not convincing.
  • Papa Wolf: It wouldn't be a Harrison Ford movie without him showing him as one. Only it was with his wife being attacked and not his family, but he becomes pissed off once it becomes clear who Frankie is to him.
  • Precocious Crush: Annie O'Meara, the O'Mearas youngest daughter, has a crush on Frankie, who takes it stride even when she asks if she would marry him.
  • Spotting the Thread: Tom starts figuring out that the man known as Rory to him and his family is not whom he appears to be. After some thugs break into his house to look for the money that Frankie has for the Stingers, both Frankie and Tom fight them off and Tom goes down to the basement, Rory's room, and sees it trashed and begins to look around the room, before finding the money stashed away.
  • Tempting Fate: Tom tells Frankie that despite carrying a gun for over twenty years, he's only fired it four times in the field and he's never shot anyone. Frankie then points out that when you pick up a gun, sooner or later someone's gonna get a bullet.
  • Token Romance: Between Frankie and Megan. It's a downplayed example, but still qualifies.
  • The Troubles: A portion of the movie is set in Northern Ireland and the filmmakers Shown Their Work. Frankie is an IRA member sent to the United States to acquire some surface-to-air missiles from an arms dealer, while staying as the guest of Tom O'Meara, a New York City cop. It especially shows the IRA's support among many Irish-Americans, though doesn't portray this as a good thing and that War Is Hell on both sides.
  • Villain Protagonist: Frankie is the main central character and is an infamous IRA member in The Troubles.