37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2013
Gritty well acted interesting plot lines really liked this series- but what happened to episode 4 & 5? Seems all wrong that this set was put out with only three of the five first series episodes- disappointing.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Intense suspense throughout. Ex-cop turned PI who investigates with wild action, deadly results, and passion on multiple fronts. Excellent writing of plot mixing in threads. Based on bestseller Ken Bruen novels. This guy investigates his own way, and usually gets a round of beating in each episode. He's tough, has to be, the crimes are ugly, and the solutions are amazingly woven together making it near impossible not to be surprised at the end. A solid support cast for Iain Glen (Downton Abbey) who shines as Jack Taylor.
Regulars include Sup. Clancy (Frank O'Sullivan); Cody the new partner (Killian Scott); Garda Kate Noonan (Nora-Jane Noone), her partner DS Kavanagh (Nick Lee) & more. Also has guest stars. All you want in a good new tough Irish crime drama. And it's filmed in Galway, beautiful Connemara region.
SDH SUBTITLES for all 3 90-min episodes.
1 The Guards
4 young female suicides; but Jack's hired by a missing 18-yr-old girl's mom after being forced to resign from the Garda (Irish Cops). He's surviving as a Pvt.Eye and gets help from old pal Sutton (Ralph Brown). What's the mom's (Tara Breathnach) real motive? She seems suspicious. Father Malachy (Paraic Breathnach) also is a regular.
2 The Pikemen
Pikemen: vigilantes on the Galway streets, face-off with Taylor during a PvtEye investigation. Has Taylor crossed that fine line of law? A young follower, Cody, and old flame Ann (Tara Breathnach, seen in the 1st episode) complicate the almost sober ex-cop. The urban myth Pikemen frame Jack.
3 The Magdalen Martyrs
Taylor's hired to find Magdalen Laundries former nasty nun, "Lucifer", known for brutality to girls. Jack's warned off, the hard way, by Cassell (Liam Carney- `Angela's Ashes'), Irish drug baron. Facts get personal and Taylor again manages to get the cops and killers after his own hide. A twisted ending, to be sure.
There is a box warning about violence and language, but I can't wait for Set 2. Even better than "Murphy's Law", which was another good Irish cop series.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2013
This set is great! It's my new favorite. I saw this set on Acorn T.V. and just love it. It is so well acted. The story telling is wonderful. I haven't read the books but I will now. An absolute must for any Mystery fan. I hope there is a second set!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The primary draw to this collection of Irish made-for-TV movies is the great character actor Iain Glen. While I've seen Glen in dozens of projects, he is currently starring in HBO's stellar adaptation of "Game of Thrones." As the right hand of Daenerys Targaryen (EMMY nominee Emilia Clarke), he has miraculously lasted three seasons without meeting a beheading or other violent end! No small accomplishment there! "Jack Taylor" is, as I mentioned, a series of movies that started in 2010. The Set One DVD release collects the three earliest works: The Guards, The Pikemen, and The Magdalen Martyrs. There have been two others that have already aired overseas (The Dramatist and Priest) with four more on the decks (The Killing of The Tinkers, Cross, Sanctuary and The Devil). Therefore, it appears that a Set Two and Set Three might be on their way in the future. So if you love the Jack Taylor films (and enough people buy the DVD), there are more adventures in the offing.
I watch a lot of international TV, especially crime drama, and it's such an overcrowded field that it has become virtually impossible to tell new or intriguing stories. "Jack Taylor" is adapted from the novels of Ken Bruen and in addition to the presence of Glen, it offers two other unique selling points: The individual plots are appropriately twisty and the series benefits from a real sense of location. Set mostly in Galway, the township and its inhabitants figure prominently into the success of the franchise. This is gritty stuff. A disgraced cop, Taylor leads a troubled life straddling between the law enforcement community and the seamier underbelly of polite society. Taylor takes on cases that the police ignore, and this leads to many confrontations from just about every angle. As the series begins with The Guards, I absolutely loathed the first hour of the movie. Trying too hard to establish Taylor as a flippant troublemaker, the set-up seemed incredibly scripted and inexcusably false. The tone was too light, too irreverent, and I didn't believe Jack Taylor as a real person but as an eccentric narrative construct. Although it got better in the second half, I probably wouldn't have watched the other movies were they not provided in the set. Luckily I did, though, because I did find them ultimately satisfying. And if you're a fan of Glen or crime drama, I would recommend this overall.
The Guards (2010) 2 1/2 Stars: Dealing with a series of local drownings, Jack is enlisted to help a distressed woman with a missing daughter. The Guards (the police who have dismissed Jack from service) seem to be ineffective and the woman may not be telling the whole truth. The more Jack uncovers, the more danger he is in. As he suffers a very personal loss, the investigation leads to some well connected suspects and a number of dark revelations. I actually quite enjoyed the plot of this one, I just couldn't stand the way the character was introduced in the first half.
The Pikemen (2011) 4 Stars: Jack, operating outside the law himself, comes across a mysterious band of vigilantes. A former friend of his father asks for help after his son dies in mysterious circumstances (not so mysterious for the viewer really, we see it at the opening of the movie). It becomes a race to determine who might be next on the hit list, and it is left to Jack to unravel a darker conspiracy with very personal motives. This was a solid entry, although Jack's ruminations about his father didn't add a whole lot to the tale. But adding a sidekick was a winning stroke.
The Magdalen Martyrs (2011) 4 Stars: In a blast from the past, Jack's new case is tied to the notorious Magdalen Laundries (Basically a work camp/prison for young girls). A woman whose mother has recently passed wants to locate the sadistic nun that her mother has written about in her girlhood journals. These rather innocuous requests seem to garner a lot of attention. What kind of cover-up is there? And why is everyone interested in the journal? As Jack digs deeper, this one also strikes rather close to home. There is a bit too much coincidence in the revelations here, but I think this is easily the best of the bunch as it has real emotional resonance. KGHarris, 11/13.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2013
When Jack Taylor (Iain Glen) puts on his stolen regulation double-breasted Garda coat with the brass buttons, watch out! Jack Taylor is Ken Bruen's fictional detective/private eye/finder. He has been dismissed from the Garda Síochána (Irish police) and is now finding things for people in Galway, Ireland. The Irish call their gumshoes "finders" since "private eye" sounds too much like "informer"...
Three 90-minute films are in this first collection: they were filmed in 2010-2011 and directed by Stuart Orme.
"The Guards" introduces Jack Taylor and is based on the debut series novel by Ken Bruen. After his dismissal from the Garda, Taylor finds refuge in a local boarding house and frequents a nearby pub. A worried mother hires him to find her missing 18-year-old daughter after a series of apparent suicides have left four young girls drugged and drowned in Galway Bay. Taylor receives some assistance from a fellow Garda named Kate Noonan and Superintendent Clancy (Frank O'Sullivan).
"The Pikemen" is a yarn written in Bruen's Hibernian noir style and characterization. It is a typical vigilante story about eight men who wear black hoods, kill with pikes, and have a twisted sense of who deserves to live and who deserves to die. The story includes a naïve young man Cody Farraher who sees Jack as a hero, the best "finder" in western Ireland. Taylor is arrested on suspicion of murdering a local businessman and is forced to rely on Cody to help clear his name.
"The Magdalen Martyrs" returns to Bruen's gritty and brutal storytelling and is adapted from his novel of the same name. Taylor (with Cody's help) is hired to look into past abuses at the infamous Magdalen laundry, the city's home for "wayward girls." The daughter of a former inmate wants him to track down a woman called "Lucifer"...a particularly brutal nun who worked there in the 1960s. Jack discovers a 50-year-old family secret that leads him to the nun's identity and an unexpected connection to the recent deaths of two brothers.
Jack Taylor in the Bruen books is a loner...just an alcoholic Galway gumshoe who finds tinkers and Mary Magdalen's and flops often in his room at a local boarding house. Iain Glen, although a Scotsman, gets his t'inks and t'anks pronounced in good Irish fashion and, thanks to other surrounding cast members, portrays Taylor well. The addition of young Cody Farraher (Killian Scott) and beautiful wide-eyed Garda Kate Noonan (Nora-Jane Noone) as regulars in the series is very nice. Even Mrs. Bailey, the owner of the boarding house and an example of the "old school of Galway charm," softens our intrepid ex-Garda loner.
Galwegian Ken Bruen sets his Jack Taylor books smack in the middle of Galway, Ireland. The settings of the television productions purport to be Ireland but are filmed a goodly bit in Bremen, Germany. Jack does not sober up and wander down to the Great Southern Hotel (now the Meyrick Hotel) near Eyre Square nor to the greatest bookstore in the world (Kenny's) around the corner on High Street. But many of the scenes are filmed in Galway's Claddagh area where the Corrib River runs into Galway Bay and are spectacular.
Fortunately, the third film in this collection is pure Bruen...and the dialogue is sharp, swift, and blackly comic. Too bad one has to sit through three hours of introduction and a boring vigilante tale to discover the "real" Bruen. But stay tuned and prepare to download the next two installments of the true Jack Taylor films based on the novels: THE PRIEST and THE DRAMATIST were both released in the UK by Acorn productions in March of 2013 and should be available on Amazon USA shortly.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Jack Taylor, (2011). This television series of noir mysteries is set in the current day, in and around Galway on Ireland's rugged western coast. It features, obviously, Jack Taylor, who has been kicked off the Guarda, Ireland's police force, for booze-related infractions. He is now working as a "finder" (private eye) in Galway City, and, seated, drink in hand, in his favorite bar, he takes on cases the cops won't touch. As based on the crime fiction of Ken Bruen, this acclaimed Irish series, recommended for mature audiences, stars Iain Glen as Taylor: battered, disheveled, hard-boiled. Set includes three feature-length mysteries on three DVDs: The Guards, The Pikemen, and The Magdalen Martyrs, runs 4 ½ hours, and, thank you Acorn, with all the Irish brogue, has subtitles. (Apparently, two more of this feature length series that were made will be released shortly.)
Taylor is ably played by Iaian Glen, a charismatic Scottish-born actor who plays Sir Richard Carlyle in Masterpiece: Downton Abbey Complete Seasons 1, 2, & 3 DVD Set (Original U.K. Edition), and Mormont in Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season. He has also played in The Iron Lady,Lara Croft: Tomb Raider , and Harry Brown. In THE GUARDS, Anne Henderson hires him to look for her missing teenage daughter, who she fears was the latest in a series of suspicious local 'suicides', of young girls. Taylor traces the `suicides' to a sleazy factory, its sleazy manager Ford, and finds illegal sex recordings. In THE MAGDALEN MARTYRS, Jack is hired by the daughter of a survivor of the infamous Magdalen laundries - a true blight on the nation of Ireland for many years, see The Magdalene Sisters, to find the nun the girls called Lucifer who was particularly sadistic. THE PIKEMEN opens with a scene in which an unknown man is brutally murdered by an unknown assailant, with a weapon that will be unknown to most of us: A steel spearhead with a scythe-like hook on the side, mounted on a shaft. Some days later we will discover that it is a pike, weapon of choice for earlier Irish revolutionaries known as the pikemen that is now being used by a secret sadistic vigilante group.
These fine films are dark of subject matter, and contain violence: true crime noirs. The scripts are tight and tension-filled; the dialog, spoken in brogue, reflects the storied wit of the Irish, lots of `crac.' I am not familiar with the underlying Bruen novels, so cannot speak to the episodes' accuracy as adaptations, but at least one other reviewer, I see, is, and speaks highly of them. The Galway settings look accurate. Although my husband, son of a mother born in Mayo, adjoining county to Galway, and I, who have, separately and together, enjoyed some memorable times in Eyre Square, Galway's most elegant and famous, were puzzled. The Square's famous statue, a poet, who looks like a leprechaun in his countrified cap, never once appeared onscreen. The entertainment is made by a German company; some reviewers believe that some of it is filmed in Germany. At any rate, the productions are filled with the miserable weather for which Ireland is famous, though there is a sunny day or two. There's a funny running joke about Taylor's illegally hanging on to his warm Guarda coat, which I'm sure he needs, given the weather.
We enjoyed this entertainment in our house. We seldom see Irish-set movies, let alone Galway-set movies, and considered this a treat.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Probably the best thing that "Jack Taylor" has going for it is Iain Glenn. He's a great actor, very believable and charismatic as a gruff ex-Gardai turned "finder" (which is the apparent term for private detective in Ireland). Other pluses include the beautiful Galway scenery and some of the supporting cast like the very appealing Nora-Jane Noone who plays Kate, one of Jack's Gardai friends and potential love interest. Some of the cinematography and action scenes are also well done.
But what keeps me from giving it more than three stars is the fact that the plots are all very predictable and rarely spring any surprises on the viewer. They've all been done to death in all the cop and private detective shows in the US and UK...the only thing new is the fact that everyone here is speaking in Irish accents.
Also certain things happen that strain belief...like Jack getting badly beaten up in what seems like every episode (and once hit by a car) but being pretty much good as new by the end of each story. Another cliche is that with the exception of Kate, all the Gardai officers are depicted as either corrupt or a dimwits who need old Jack to somehow solve the case for them...and who inevitably tell Kate to "stay away from Jack Taylor" ...which she never does.
So I would rate it a solid three stars...which translates in my book to being a good time waster but it doesn't rise to the same level as police and private detective series like Midsomer Murders, Touch of Frost, Inspector Lynley, Morse, Inspector Lewis, and Poirot.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2013
After watvhing the first episode -- drunk guy throughout, unintellible and ugly plot -- I was ready to throw the whole thing out, but had an unfilled window of time and watched the next two. Very good. Each episode is a new case to solve but within ongoing, connected contexts which explain Jack a good deal. And his drinking is commented on and he does it less. And -- he acquires a very helpful young, admiring sidekick which he's smart enough to take on.
Another commenter reveals there are two more episodes in the first series; so, let's have them?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This isn't a TV series, per se. It's a set of TV movies, the first three out of six to be exact. So don't buy this expecting to get a TV series, because you'll probably be disappointed. That said, the stories do have a fair amount of continuity from one to the other, so if you watch them out of order, you'll be missing out on bits of the character's life and his relationships with others.
That said, Jack Taylor is a set of really good neo-noir crime movies set in Galway, Ireland. Jack used to be a member of the Garda, the local police force, until he lost his temper with a well-connected politician and then lost his job. He hung on to his Garda coat, however, a snazzy blue number, and their attempts to get it back form a small running joke in the movies. The movies, taken from a series of books by Ken Bruen, are quite interesting. Jack takes up private eye work, and investigates a series of murders of young women, a local vigilante group, and tracks down a really evil former nun nicknamed "Lucifer" by the young women forced into her care. Along the way, he drinks a lot (something of a cliche), tries to deal with his mother and the priest who looks out for her, cultivates a source in the Garda, and acquires a young sidekick who worships the ground Jack walks on.
Iain Glen is fantastic, and the supporting cast is equally wonderful in their roles. Each movie is about 90 minutes long, so I suggest carving out a chunk of time when you can just sit down and watch them one at a time. They are quite absorbing.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2013
Engaging mysteries, heartbreaking drinking, and plenty of gritty Irish social anthropology. A big change from Glen's roles on Downtown Abbey and Game of Thrones. I wondered how his character could possibly survive all the drinking, beatings, and heartbreak, but liked his performance anyway. I used the English subtitles to catch all the dialogue which was sometimes difficult for an American to understand.