the devil can keep it
Oh, dear, oh dear. I’ve just watched The Devil’s Own, Hollywood’s most recent take on the “troubles” in Northern Ireland. The plot outline is simple enough: a notorious IRA terrorist (Frankie Maguire, played by Brad Pitt) narrowly escapes capture in Belfast, slipping out under the guns of half the SAS. He makes it to New York and meets up with a corrupt judge who sympathises and provides money, raised from IRA supporters in the USA, to buy Stinger missiles to take home.
The judge also gets him lodgings with a NYPD sergeant (Tom O’Meara, played by Harrison Ford). So far so good, but Maguire’s mission spills out when Maguire’s arms dealer tries to steal the money, involving O’Meara and his family. It doesn’t take long for O’Meara to figure things out and attempt to take Maguire in, but he escapes, killing O’Meara’s partner.
At the opening gun battle a senior SAS officer apparently shoots another terrorist in cold blood, and he later pops up in New York, making it clear that he intends to kill Maguire. The straight-laced O’Meara won’t stand for this, so he sets off to capture Maguire and thus save his life. (Huh?). Cue a gun battle on board the boat carrying the missiles back to Belfast, some more male bonding, and a pat ending.
While it started off looking at the issues, at the end it lost sight and had little more to say than “killing is bad”. While there were a few scenes in a church, there was no mention of the Catholic / Protestant conflict that lies at the heart of the matter. As I’ve said here before, Ireland is a highly Catholic country, despite what the Irish Constitution says.
The irony is that there is far more sectarianism in Belfast than Dublin, despite all the Celtic T-shirts. There are Protestants here, but they live anywhere they like, not in Protestant areas. Being British, I’m apparently supposed to feel that Northern Ireland should be a part of Britain, but I don’t. It shouldn’t matter at all, if the threats to a people’s culture and religion did not exist. The idea of a secular state is only the beginning; for an example of what I mean, look at the history of Turkey since 1924 or so.