One man trapped by destiny, and another bound by duty.
A young man sits in a window holding a machine gun while mothers scurry to pull their playing children in from the streets. It's just another day in Belfast -- and this young man will not hesitate to shoot the soldiers who cross his path. Raised on the bitter realities of death and anger, he believes that the end of this madness will justify even the most violent of means.
Across the Atlantic in New York City, an Irish cop also pulls his gun, hoping against hope not to have to shoot the young thief racing through the streets to escape arrest. His city also has its share of violence, but he chooses to battle it by standing up for what's right, by trying to be a true officer of the peace.
Two countries, two men, two opposite ways of trying to do the right thing. Yet their fates will be fused together when their very different methods of seeking peace and justice wind up on a violent collision course with one another.
No one could ever have predicted that Tom O'Meara (Harrison Ford) and Frankie McGuire aka Rory Devaney (Brad Pitt) would come to know one another. The New York City cop and the Irish terrorist have nothing but their heritage in common. But when Devaney arrives in the US on a terrorist mission, he takes on the perfect false identity, hiding in plain sight as an innocent young man seeking refuge from his country's troubles. O'Meara, a man with a large heart, agrees to open his family home to this supposed stranger in need, without knowing anything about his past.
In the safe haven of the O'Meara house, the two immediately form a bond. Rory finds in Tom a strong, patient man not unlike the father who was cruelly murdered at the family dinner table when he was just a child. Now Rory sits next to Tom at this new family dinner table in an atmosphere of utter calm, joy and love, laughing with Tom's daughters and sharing in the common respect for Tom and his wife, Sheila (Margaret Colin).
Tom, too, finds himself drawn to Rory. A man with only daughters, Tom enjoys the simple pleasures of drinking and talking with Rory and he feels an unexpected pride in taking this charming young man under his wing.
Yet the realities of both men's lives lie in wait under the surface. Some of Rory's well honed protective defenses have slowly dropped in this American respite -- allowing him to become a part of Tom's family -- but he knows his terrorist mission is calling.
When violence is unforgivably visited on his own home and family, Tom, a man with a deep and inviolable sense of morality, begins to suspect that all might not be as it appears in Rory's life. Tom finally discovers the truth about Rory, and now it is Tom who is on a mission - a pursuit to not only bring the criminal who has defied capture to justice, but to keep his friend alive.