What a disappointment from a director of Pakula's stature! Surrendering his craftmanship and unique sense for suspense and striking visuals, Pakula abandons the plot to the tiresome persona of an unjustly framed Harrison Ford whose oscillation between duty and fatherly redemption is as cliché as can be. Add to this a pitiful Pitt and a bunch of annoyning FBI agents and police force and you've got a mess. Unwatchable.
A great example of a movie that never quite figures out how to get where it wants to go. There are great pieces but many of them do not mesh well. The film's story becomes too unwieldy for it have a bigger dramatic impact. When the noir-like ending comes, one feels that the film didn't engage with the darker, grimmer elements within. Edges feel sanded off, ideas un-actualized. Still, it's pretty watchable.
The central story of an IRA member taking up residence with a NYC policeman is quite good, and the scenes with Ford and Pitt bonding have this underlying heart of deceit to them. Less strong, however, are the scenes with Ford at his cop job, which teeter on silliness or underdevelop their relevance to that strong main conflict. Ultimately, The Devil's Own is a melodrama that could be a stronger, more thrilling drama.