14 May 2001 | Howlin Wolf
Why must Hollywood meddle in things it doesn't understand?
I say this making no pretense at completely understanding the Irish conflict myself (you'd have to ask someone with experience of Belfast for a more authentic take on the situation), but the irresponsible way the troubles were used here as a backdrop to what is supposed entertainment staggers me. It isn't as if it needed this detail; the terrorist could have been from any unspecified organisation. In the incompetent handling of sensitive issues that the makers really have no idea of, the production team involved in this really have let themselves down. Brad Pitt realised this too late and henceforth disowned the film, a fact which made me admire and respect him even more.
For this I wanted to hate the film, and yet found myself unable to. Beneath the misbegotten attempts at 'political comment', there is a decent little thriller struggling to get out. Pitt is great as the terrorist (dodgy accent aside) and Ford is as reliable as ever in the role of the honest cop. Director Pakula keeps the story moving at all times and stages the action well. Despite all these pluses, I constantly felt uncomfortable at the ways in which the script tried to manipulate my sympathies. While it's not quite enough to make me downgrade the film on an enjoyment level, it loses big points from an ethical perspective. Shame on you Tinseltown.