RECORDED DELIVERY

The Devil's Own (15) Columbia, rental, 7 Jan

While The Devil's Own maintains that the war in Northern Ireland is far too complicated to comprehend, the plot remains jarringly simplistic. Brad Pitt plays a blue-eyed-and-peroxide IRA boy who, after a shoot-out in Belfast, sheds his facial hair and goes to New York to procure some missiles. Harrison Ford wears his furrowed brow with the usual righteousness as the New Jersey cop Tom O'Meara, who takes it upon himself to see justice done. Pitt manages a creditable performance, though he fights a losing battle against a reprehensible script. "I know why you're doing this," says Ford. "Don't look for a happy ending, Tom. It's not an American story, it's an Irish one," says Pitt. Urgh. An abundance of Guinness and the obligatory Riverdance-style soundtrack also ensures that we remember that it all has something to do with Ireland. HH

Broken English (18) First Independent, rental, 5 Jan

Despite a promising set of characters, racial stereotypes spill from this nerve-wracking picture, produced by Robin Scholes, of Once Were Warriors fame. Nina (Aleksandra Vujcic) is a Croatian waitress working in Auckland. She falls for a Maori chef, Eddie, who helps her escape from her father, Ivan, who favours ironing out domestic disputes with a baseball bat. The film rarely responds to the terror from which the Croatian family have fled, gradually losing all sense of subtlety as it stumbles towards a disappointingly brutal conclusion. HH

Murder at 1600 (15) Warner, rental 9 Jan

Conspiracy and skulduggery at the Whitehouse is all the rage in Hollywood these days. Dragging on the coat-tails of Absolute Power is this limp political thriller from Dwight Little, the director of Free Willy. Wesley Snipes is the outspoken cop who comes up against a web of red tape as he investigates a murder in the President's bathroom. Ever distracted by his impending eviction from his lodgings, Snipes's mind isn't really on the job and neither is the President's, as he's embroiled in a hostage crisis with North Korea. My sympathies are with them, since I had difficulty concentrating myself. HH

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