chapter  7
12 Pages

The Devil’s Own Patriot Games: The Troubles and the Hollywood Action Movie

This chapter analyzes the representation of the Troubles in the mainstream Hollywood action thriller of the 1990s. It focuses on two fi lms, Patriot Games (directed by Phillip Noyce, UIP/Paramount, US) from 1992 and The Devil’s Own (directed by Alan J. Pakula, Columbia, US) from 1997, which elicited very different audience and media responses. Patriot Games initiated the highly successful series of fi lms featuring CIA agent Jack Ryan, initially played by Harrison Ford, later by Ben Affl eck. The Devil’s Own recouped only $42.9 million of its $95 million budget at the US box offi ce and was attacked by the British tabloid media as an apologia for the IRA. Between them the two fi lms sketch the parameters within which the Troubles functioned in the Hollywood action thriller. Patriot Games established many of these parameters for the nineties. The Devil’s Own exceeded them too early, having gone into production in the aftermath of the fi rst IRA cease-fi re in 1994, but released after the breakdown of that cease-fi re and some months before its renewal in July 1997.