Expect action with this Jack Irish bloke. A criminal lawyer gone rogue as debt collector, drunk, gambler, and more after his wife's murder. Guy Pearce becomes the character that was created from the crime novels of Peter Temple. Those books are being released in America now in parallel with the winning TV series. Even 100 minutes can't do justice to the novel, but the character focus is preserved, as well as the Melbourne setting, also the film location.
Some great orchestration and pop music mixed into the episodes.
Jack is a fallen, grieving lawyer who investigates dark lives--a series that is Aussie character driven.
I loved the touching scenes in the wood shop which included the old cabinet maker Charlie (Vadin Glowna) but alas he died prior to airing of the 2 episodes he acted so honestly through. There are also some great give-n-go moments in the local pub.
An ex-client turns up dead, so jack falls back into a bit of his old life. Politics, crooked cops, business, and murder for $$$ all become a part of the cleverly woven plot of conspiracy and corruption that get the protagonist, Jack Irish, back into the investigative life he so hoped to avoid. Yet he keeps a hold on his gambling and woodworking apprenticeship during life and death events. A bit of nudity during bed scenes with reporter Linda (Marta Dusseldorp) who wants more than just a news story scoop--oops! Complex suspense to keep you on your seat's edge.
Irish's dad's old friend has a case that might provide him some insight into his own dad's past. The friends son, Gary, is missing along with $$$ belonging to his father. And Jack's cabinetmaker gets involved indirectly. As always there are evil people in high places. Romance takes a back seat, well they're not really seated. Always plenty of action.
SUBTITLES are available for not only the 2 feature-length episodes but also the Behind the Scenes film bonus segment. Unrated but with gritty adult content. It's a combo Blu-ray (1080i/16:9) & DVD set.
I'm a big fan of Australian crime drama, with the various iterations of "Underbelly" being among my favorite programs of recent years (if you've never heard of them, check them out immediately). I am also a fan of actor Guy Pearce. Seeing his early film career in diverse roles such as "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," "L.A. Confidential," and "Memento," I just knew he was going to be a major talent. Truthfully, though, in the next decade Pearce has developed into more of a character actor. That's not a stinging insult, he is often the best thing about the projects he is featured in (just sometimes the projects leave a lot to be desired). But I was really looking forward to him taking the reins in this series of TV movies produced in Australia. In Set One of "Jack Irish," you get two TV movies produced in 2012: Bad Debts and Black Tide. They just wrapped another Jack Irish mystery, Dead Point, slated to hit airwaves in 2014 so presumably they are hoping to make a Set Two DVD release at some point in the future.
Based on the novels of Peter Temple, Jack Irish is a laconic breed of crime investigator. He's not particularly expressive, but that doesn't keep him from finding trouble. Or maybe it finds him. In tone, these reminded me a bit of the stellar Jesse Stone series with Tom Selleck (I'll get back to the comparison in a bit). As an up-and-coming lawyer, his life is completely upended. Dropping out of polite society, he now spends his time with dubious company doing collections for a questionable bookie (Roy Billing, so great in Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities) and his henchman (Aaron Pederson, my favorite character in the series). In my opinion, this continuing relationship is the most intriguing part of "Jack Irish." Unfortunately, I just didn't find either of the mysteries particularly involving or unique. The same might be said for Jesse Stone (I told you I'd come back), but with Stone you're invested into a real sense of community with Paradise and the supporting cast. Irish isn't nearly as grounded and it's not always believable that a rumpled Pearce (he looks homeless and has no real authority) would get everyone to open up to him.
Bad Debts (3 Stars): Serving as the series introduction, we start out with the character back story and the beginning is quite traumatic. Soon, however, we settle into a rather mundane mystery. An old client turns up dead after having tried to reach Irish, and this brings up questions about a hit-and-run conviction many years in the past. New evidence just might unravel a heinous conspiracy involving the usual suspects of bad cops, corrupt politicians and unscrupulous businessmen. I have seen this exact same plot (I won't say exactly what it is here) played out so many times, it simply lacked any surprise. None of the potential bad guys are defined in very much detail so when everything was concluding, I simply didn't care very much or feel close to the action. A love interest (Marta Dusseldorp) is thrown in for good measure. The two have good chemistry, but the screenplay just puts them together without any real preamble or build-up. Only two scenes stuck out for me: the introduction and a rather grisly discovery at about the halfway point.
Black Tide (3 1/2 Stars): I might just as easily have awarded this four stars, but it does suffer from some of the same issues as its predecessor. Once again, the plot line just felt a bit tired. I've seen many similar stories and played to more extravagance. Irish is contacted by an old friend of his father whose son has gone missing. As he starts to look into the matter, he once again gets drawn into a grand conspiracy involving a potential government cover-up of something called Black Tide. As he pursues any available lead, he discovers that the case is connected to a missing operative and a murdered reporter. Despite the major revelations, Irish still has time for some romance. Obviously his lack of expression and continually disheveled appearance is like catnip to the women! This movie is once again distinguished by a great scene involving (yet another) grisly discovery. What does bump it up though is the finale which is pleasantly loopy. KGHarris, 10/13.
Peter Temple, is an Australian author I have followed for quite awhile. Now, two of his books have been turned into a series, 'Jack Irish'. I was pleasantly surprised to find how very good they are.
The opening sequence starts with a bombshell as Jack an up and coming lawyer is chatting with his wife about a home furnishing. An old client comes running into the office and a startling event takes place. The beginning credits roll. Some time later, we find Jack trying to get over his misery. He has gone through a drinking and gambling phase, and has now given up law and has become a would-be carpenter, debt collector, and working for a man who bets on horses. Jack is played by Guy Pearce, and it seems he has become Jack Irish, this role is his. Handsome, reckless, recovering from trauma, he plays this character to the 'T'.
Another of Jack's old clients has called and left messages and when Jack picks them up, the man is found dead. This leads Jack on a search to find the question and the answer. Some of the answers reach into high political quarters, where he is not welcomed. A journalist, played by the beautiful. Marta Dusseldrop, is on the story and together they follow every lead. One of the most interesting sidelights of this film is the bar Jack uses as a sometime office. It is filled with old fellas who love soccer and knew his dad. He is a welcome part of the group, so to speak, and this gives some insight into his background.
'Jack Irish' is a terrific series, great characters with Australia as it's background. What could be better?
Recommended. prisrob 10-22-13
on November 7, 2013
I am big fan of Guy Pearce. The Proposition [Blu-ray], Memento (10th Anniversary Special Edition) [Blu-ray], and L.A. Confidential [Blu-ray] rank up there with the best in movie entertainment. Jack Irish, Set 1 [Blu-ray] is an Australian-produced film-noire that has an interesting story and some great action and steaming bedroom scenes. Good supporting actors and a crystal-clear video round out the worthwhile drama. BUT, holy mackerel! What on earth is up with the Australian vernacular?? I was compelled to use the sub-titles to have a chance at following the dialogue. Not my first choice, but thank goodness they are available. You're going to need them unless you speak "down-under" (Probably what they would say about an American production like The Sopranos: The Complete Series. Still, this comes recommended and I am looking forward to new episodes and expanding my vocabulary.
First, I thought that this DVD was the first few episodes of a TV series so it came as a rude surprise when the first "episode" (Bad Debt) kept going on and on (I think it ended up being 90 minutes). I went back and looked at the Amazon product page after that, and feel that there is not enough explanation of exactly what you're getting.
I have loved Guy Pearce in everything I've seen him in, but this? Not so much. And even then, he was pretty much the best thing about the piece. His character was a lawyer before a horrible incident sent him into a tailspin. He became a vengeance-seeking vigilante trying to uncover the circumstances surrounding this awful deed.
This is an Australian production and most of the accents are bordering on unintelligible. Additionally, there seemed to be a lot of mumbling going on, which doesn't help when you already are having trouble deciphering an accent. I had plans to commit myself to watching the whole DVD in one evening (2 movies at around 90 minutes each). Not an hour into the first one, I found myself picking up my Kindle Fire to check Facebook and email. I think I may have fallen asleep at some point too, though it was nowhere near bedtime. I think I made it to the end of Bad Debts, but there was no way in hell I was watching the second one that night.
I don't know that I can put into words why it did not keep my interest, other than the fact it's hard to keep up with what's going on when you are having a hard time understanding the dialogue. And the whole mood is so dark and dreary. I understand he's had a horrible thing happen, but geez, it was just so morose and bleak.
Sorry, Guy. Still love you. Just don't love this series.
Jack Irish contains two feature length Australian films on one disc and after watching it I wanted more, more, and more. The first film, "Bad Debts" was riveting from the horrifying opening scene in which Jack Irish, an attorney, is visited by a client who served a prison sentence for unpaid parking tickets (131 of them) coupled an with assault upon a police officer. The client's wife and children left him and he comes to Irish's office to wreak revenge, swiftly doled out by him in the murder of Irish's newlywed bride. The man eats his gun in front of Irish.
This has left Irish in a "state of incoherent rage." His practice of law becomes non-existent except for one client, Harry Strange, a wealthy racetrack aficionado whose other aide is a darkly handsome man named Cam. He and Cam protect Harry and collect money owed to him by other gamblers.
Irish spends a great deal of time with Charlie, an elderly cabinetmaker and expert craftsman, who is a father figure to him. We learn that Irish's father was a sports hero and died when the Irish was a lad.
Along the way another former client calls him for help, but Irish is too late in responding and this man too is murdered. There are a series of crimes and Irish meets a newspaper reporter, Linda Hillier, a stunning blond, who is working on municipal corruption expose involving a "planning" commission. Irish assures Linda that he is as "domesticated as a neutered cat" although he is rakish and handsome. He has not had any other love interests sine the death of his bride Isabel.
Irish conducts his business in a plain Melbourne old-timers local pub peopled by a no nonsense bartender (Stanley) and three elderly rascals who have keen memories about sports and music trivia and are deeply devoted to Fitzroy sports memorabilia which "decorates" the pub's walls.
The second film, "Black Tide," is an equally engaging story. Linda is now a high profile TV reporter in Sydney. Irish spends a lot of time with Charlie, the craftsman. He is practicing law and lives steps away from his second office, the same pub featured in the first film. Cam is now a trusted ally, Linda is geographically unavailable, and another mystery and more crimes follow. This story too is just as riveting as the first film on the CD. Altogether, more than 80 exceptional actors are featured in both films. Guy Pearce portrays Irish. The actor, Vadim, who plays the part of Charlie, has died in real-life and there is a tribute to him in the 17 minutes of extra material on the DVD. The two stories are based upon award winning books by Peter Temple.
Guy Pearce's Jack Irish is outstanding.
on October 28, 2013
I liked this video but didn't love it. It's edgy, has heart and humor but there's nothing especially compelling about the stories in fact the denouements don't make a lot of sense maybe because it's about Australian politics. I love the Aussie setting however and Guy Pearce is impossible to dislike. His hard drinking, failed lawyer character's back story is interesting and I loved the plethora of substitute father figures he with which he surrounded himself. Actually these veteran actors all but steal the show with their subtle nuances and their humor. There are his three elderly sports obsessed bar buddies and his carpenter mentor. In fact the carpenter shop is where Jack spends therapeutic time working with natural materials between bouts of crime fighting. It's a throwback to a simpler time before he heads out to the race track and modern day intrigue.
In both these episodes he manages to find willing female companionship. The settings are psychologically graphic yet there's surprisingly little blood splatter but there is some nudity if that's a concern for viewers. Interest wise this crime drama was on the cusp for me. I'd watch the remaining episodes if they showed up on TV though I wouldn't feel compelled to buy them. I loved the characters but found the stories lackluster.
I just finished watching Jack Irish this afternoon, and I was completely blown away. Based on the novels of Australian writer Peter Temple, it stars movie and television star Guy Pearce as the titular anti-hero, a man who lost everything he had when his wife was murdered. Turning away from his former life as an attorney, Irish becomes a sometime private eye who drowns himself in the bottle when he can, and who is dragged back to the seedy world of lowlife criminals he once represented when a former client is killed.
The thing I loved most about this series is that it was filmed as 2 feature-length movies (Bad Debts and Black Tide), rather than a bunch of 1-hour episodes. To me, this gives the story a chance to really tell itself, and the actors an opportunity to really shine, which they do. Guy Pearce was especially great as Jack, imbuing the character with a rakish charm that brought to mind the kind of mystery shows I used to watch as a child. I hope that this series will continue, and I would highly recommend it to anyone with a love for a good mystery.
Everything about this show looked good. I liked the character and like the storyline. It holds up well to any American crime series. The only problem I would see for an American audience, is that they would not get certain slang terms or regional references. For example, there was a good line about Harold Holt, a Prime Minister from the 60s who one night went for a swim and was never seen again. The only reason I know this is that the incident was mentioned in a book I have read, Bill Bryson's "In a sunburned country". Most Americans, and even many Austrailians from what I understand, would not not know who Holt was. You can enjoy this anyways, but a knowledge or familiarity with Oz would help.
Jack Irish played by Guy Pearce, is a fast paced, exciting, Australian TV drama. My husband and I initially watched together and both of us agreed we'd love to see more of this series - which had numerous sub-plots, likable main characters, very unlikable devious minor characters, and others who just rounded out the stories. I watched the DVD two more times by myself, and liked it the 2nd and 3rd times just as much - which is unheard of for me - I'm not much of a repeat customer on DVD's ... occasionally I'll watch something twice, but very rarely three times! This is just a really great series!
There's really nothing to compare it to in the U.S. - at least nothing that jumps to mind. I can tell you a little about it, but be forewarned:
As the 1st scene opens, Jack and his beautiful young wife are talking about domestic things, and as they descend the stairs an angry client bursts in through the front door ... yelling about his case, how Jack hadn't listened to him, and he spent all this time in jail because of that. Another man in the office says he's going to call the police, but Jack says not to, and shortly after that hear a shot in the background. Jack rushes out to see what it is, and he sees the client with the gun, starts to try to calm him down, and then realizes his wife has been fatally shot! At which point the client turns the gun on himself and commits suicide!
Jack goes from a well-groomed, suit wearing lawyer in the 1st scene, to a handsome yet scruffy, dressed-down P.I. of sorts investigating private matters for people whom he knows ... or knows of, in one way or another - some more dangerous than others. During one of his particularly dangerous cases Jack gets involved with a female journalist. She's very sophisticated, with a dry wit, and a great sense of self assurance. She's no push-over either ... she won't settle for anything less than what she's after - which is a great story, and if there's some great sex and also a relationship along the way, that works too!
We also really liked the guys Jack went to the horse track with. They're two kind of salty guys - one short and round - the boss, and the other was tall, dark, slim, with dark wavy hair, and a sparkling smile. When Jack gets into a bind and they're with him, they're prepared with the necessary guns and ammo to get by.
The main plot involves government level corruption, a cover-up, stalking, chases, and spying. When they find out Jack has his nose in their business, they bring him in to have a talk with him, and it appears Jack can't be bought - although it's obvious he is just a bit scared and rightfully so.