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Set 1 (2012)
Director: Jeffrey Walker
Writer(s): Andrew Knight, Matt Cameron
(Based on the award-winning books by
Cast: Guy Pearce, Marta Dusseldorp, Aaron Pedersen, Roy Billing…
MPAA Rating: NR – Contains
strong language, violence, graphic images, nudity, and sexual situations.
1 Disc, 2 feature-length episodes
approx. 202 minutes
Genre(s): Australian noir, crime
drama, private investigator, suspense/thriller
Reviewed by Cherie Jung
Irish (Guy Pearce) is a former criminal
lawyer, now debt collector, drunk, gambler, and part-time private investigator. Determined though he is to drown
his demons after his wife's
murder, he finds he can’t out drink his past. He is drawn back to an underworld
of corruption and violence. Set in Melbourne, Australia, the city is portrayed
as modern and rather ugly. The mean streets where Irish walks are bordered by
graffiti covered dilapidated buildings. The graffiti has no artistic appeal
I have not read any of the books this series is based upon but if this is
Australian noir, I can’t say I’m all that impressed. First off, I was
continually distracted by character’s perpetual disheveled look. I frequently
lost track of the crime or mystery because I became absorbed in wondering how
Irish can always have a three-day stubble. Not one day or four days. Every day
looks like the perfect three-day stubble. I also found myself contemplating how
a man with three-day stubble can manage to have the hairstyle he has. Not
merely a haircut, or lack of a haircut, but a hairstyle that I doubt he could get in any barbershop that a
drunken, down-on-his-luck, ex-criminal lawyer would most likely frequent.
Season 1 is comprised of two feature
“Bad Debts” – A shady land deal is
being orchestrated by corrupt politicians backed by corrupt cops. Jack is
determined to make the bad guys pay for setting up a possibly or probably
innocent man. Jack’s not sure. He was not “on his game” when he handled the
guy’s case years ago. (It was during his early drunken period.)
“Black Tide” – Jack pitches in to
locate the missing son of an old friend of his father’s. The son has apparently
stolen $60,000 from the old guy and the bank is planning to evict him any day
now. Things become complicated as Jack snoops around. More than just one person
and the money are missing.
Although “Black Tide” had a vastly more
interesting plotline, better pacing, and more action, it still could have been
improved by cutting 20 minutes, or so, from the film. “Bad Debts” might have
been helped by a 60-minute total length. It certainly couldn’t have moved along
much slower or viewers might have been inspired to switch it off and watch some
paint drying on the wall instead. The audience is not stupid. We get it. Jack
has issues. Jack has problems. Jack has a past. One might be able to get away
with this pacing in a novel but not in a TV series. Please!
So far, Jack Irish brings nothing fresh
or innovative to the genre.
The Fitzroy Youth Club (three old
geezers who hang out at Jack’s favorite bar reliving past glory days while
watching old soccer games on VHS tapes) are cute and funny but they’re fluff.
The only character I really liked was Cam Delroy (Aaron Pedersen) who plays Harry Strang’s (Roy Billing) right-hand man and go-to guy. Jack is connected to
them via the betting at the racetrack.
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