Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Devil's Own Review

While not based on a specific Jack Higgins novel, The Devil's Own is definitely inspired by the man's work.  It has many of the hallmarks of one of these novels: IRA gunmen, gangsters, illegal activity, a boat and a guy getting shot in the knee.  All we need is a short, fair-haired guy drinking Bushmills and we have a novel in the Sean Dillon series.  I had actually never heard of it which is odd because it came out at a time when I was going to see almost everything in the theatre and it deals with the IRA and the Troubles (a subject that fascinates me).  So, when I saw it on Netflix, I was definitely going to watch it.

I wouldn't say I'm disappointed in the film.  Like I said, it strongly resembles Jack Higgins' work.  Those novels, while they move quickly and have a lot of intrigue and action in them, they are not very deep at all.  Neither is The Devil's Own.  It starts out pretty slow actually and doesn't really get going until about the quarter mark.  Then it moves at a decent pace and never really bogs down in any kind of character play.  It does delve a little into the characters but it never lets that dominate the screen.  So, in that regard, it is well done.

The problems with the movie are in the casting and acting.  First, the acting from Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford is about as good as you'd expect from either.  Pitt is really nothing to write home about but he also isn't bad.  I think casting him was a mistake.  He's too much of a pretty boy to play an IRA hardman.  Even in his grittier movies like Fight Club and Snatch, he comes off as having too much hipster in him.  So a different choice would have been better.  Ford is his usual personality-less self except when he gets angry.  Then he's over the top cheesy and unbelievable.  Really, the guy isn't a great actor.  But he was Han Solo and Indiana Jones (two campy roles in campy - yet fun - franchises) so he'll always get work.  The supporting cast is slightly below average.  Some of it is good but, for the most part, they are fairly stiff and, when they have to show emotion, they do not do it convincingly.

While it isn't a total waste of time, I would recommend that you should probably not see it.  Unless you are like me and really enjoy the "Jack Higgins" genre, you will likely not enjoy it.

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