Film Review: The Devil's Own

by DerdriuMarriner

The Devil's Own is an action thriller drama that follows actions and crimes from one side of the Atlantic to the other, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, to New York City, U.S.A.

Irish Americans consider corned beef with cabbage Irish

Irishmen and Irishwomen associate with Irish Americans in unexpected ways in the action drama The Devil’s Own.
• The crime thriller brings audiences full circle from one rural family’s experience with assassination in an isolated Cookstown District home near Northern Ireland’s largest freshwater lake, Lough Neagh, in 1972 all the way to stand-offs in the waters around New York City 20+ years later, in winter/spring 1993.

It considers the impacts of English and Irish political disagreements upon Irish Americans who seek to forge sometimes different, sometimes similar experiences, identities, memories, and opportunities on the pond’s west side from Northern Irelanders on the pond’s northeastern configuration as:
• the Celtic and Irish Seas; and
• the North and St. George’s Channels.

In "The Devil's Own" Frankie's father is murdered in front of his family in their isolated home in Cookstown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland:

During the Troubles, which lasted from the 1960s to 1998, Cookstown experienced outbreaks of violence despite history of cordial relations between Catholics and Protestants.
Leaning Barn of Cookstown
Leaning Barn of Cookstown

Irish Americans dislike violence and drink Guinness beer


Francis Austin McGuire’s (Shane Dunne) father (Martin Dunne) dies -- saying grace (“Bless us, o Lord, for these Thy gifts which of Thy bounty we are about to receive…”) with daughter (Samantha Conroy), son, and wife (Gabrielle Reidy) -- from an anti-Republican, masked gunman's four bullets.

  • Frankie (Brad Pitt) subsequently emerges as Special Air Service agent Harry Sloan’s (Simon Jones) #1 target for 7 Army, 11 Royal Ulster Constabulary, and many Loyalist paramilitary deaths.
  • Desmond’s (David Wilmot) death in Belfast and helicopter sweeps in September 1972 find Martin MacDuff (David O’Hara) considering Stinger missiles through Billy Burke (Treat Williams), owner/operator of three bars and weapons dealer.

As Rory Devaney, Frankie goes through Newark on February 21, 1993. 


"The Devil's Own" was not the first film in which Brad Pitt portrayed a character of Celtic descent; three years before he portrayed a Cornish immigrant in "Legends of the Fall" (1994).

Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt

Irish Americans employ non-violent means as peace-loving law-enforcers


State court judge Peter Fitzsimmons (George Hearn) has Rory lodged in Staten Island at 87 Cornelia Avenue with Sergeant Tom O’Meara (Harrison Ford); wife Sheila (Margaret Colin), Winston Real Estate agent; and daughters Annie (Kelly Singer), Bridget (Julia Stiles), and Morgan (Ashley Carin). Tom soon inveighs against:

  • burglars (Chance Kelly) frightening Sheila;
  • Edwin Díaz (Rubén Blades) gunning a radio-stealing, thrice-shooting car-jacker and missing retirement in three years into bakery or pot-bellied pork opportunities;
  • Hispanic domestic disputant (Sixto Ramos) intimidating daughter (Jessica Marie Kavanagh) and wife (Mya Michael); and
  • rookies (Scott Nicholson) pursuing condom-stealers (Hassan Johnson).

He judges as less important helping Rory save Sean Phelan (Paul Ronan) from Billy’s ransom demands than turning Rory over to Harry. 


The Devils Own trailer

Uploaded to YouTube on September 17, 2009 by Experience Blu-ray ~ URL:

Irish Americans find happy endings elusive in Ireland


Rory knows that Chief Jim Kelly (Mitchell Ryan) and FBI agents Art Fisher (Damien Leake) and Evan Stanley (Victor Slezak) expect violent endings. He never likes Jack Fitzsimmons’ (Jack McKillop) nanny Megan Doherty’s (Natascha McElhone) train-hopping plans to her brother-in-law and sister, Joe and Geraldine McDonnaugh, in San Francisco. He meets Tom aboard the missile-laden Voyager.

So The Devil’s Own nudges audiences through Ireland and the northeastern U.S.A., with:

  • David Aaron Cohen, Vincent Patrick screenwriters;
  • Robert F. Colesberry, Lawrence Gordon producers;
  • Columbia Pictures, distribution/production;
  • James Horner, musician;
  • Kevin Jarre, ideator/screenwriter;
  • Donald Laventhal, Lloyd Levin executive producers;
  • Jane Musky, production designer;
  • Alan J. Pakula, director;
  • Bernie Pollack, costume designer;
  • Tom Rolf, Dennis Virkler editors; and
  • Gordon Willis, cinematographer. 


The Devil's Own ~ DVD ~ available via Amazon

Brad Pitt films

The Devil's Own ~ Amazon Instant Video: Rent or Buy with 1-Click®

The Devil's Own

Acknowledgment: For food and clothes and all that grows, for Irish/Irish-American families too, dear God, thank you!


My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.


Diana, Princess of Wales, and First Lady Hillary Clinton on June 18, 1997:

four days later Diana and her two sons, 12-year-old Harry and 15-year-old William, viewed "The Devil's Own" at Kensington Odeon in west London.
Map Room, White House, Washington DC
Map Room, White House, Washington DC
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

The Devil's Own ~ original poster ~ available via AllPosters

The Devil's Own

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 04/10/2015, DerdriuMarriner
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