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Divorcing Jack movie review

Divorcing Jack

To call Divorcing Jack a roller coaster is a bit of an understatement - the film swings from romance to thriller to black comedy at breathtaking speed - often combining genres when you least expect them. David Thewlis as Dan Starkey takes you on a ride that is never dull, encompassing all the contradictions of a turbulent, modern Northern Ireland. I haven't read the book by Colin Bateman, but he wrote the screenplay and I expect he'll be pretty happy the result: it films well and the casting and performances are consistently fine.

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Movie still, Divorcing Jack
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We start on the eve of an election: Michael Brinn (Robert Lindsay) is standing as Prime Minister for an independent Northern Ireland and his chances are looking good. Just grist for Dan Starkey's cynical column in the Belfast Evening News until the pretty art student who's seduced him winds up dead, along with her mother. Then his wife is kidnapped by the IRA.

The girlfriend turns out to be the daughter of Brinn's right hand man and what started as a very bad day suddenly becomes a major political incident. Starkey is on the run from all and sundry, looking for the real murderer with only Margaret's dying words Divorce…Jack to go on. It turns out she does have a friend called Jack, but he's no help at all. To tell you more would be it giving away; you'll have to see it for yourself.

I enjoyed this film immensely, the characters are well developed and it blends the different elements smoothly. From the first frame you know they know what they're doing, and it's a merry ride as you follow Starkey on his scary, hilarious journey. This is the role David Thewlis has been waiting for since Mike Leigh gave him so much rope in Naked and he ably lives up to the challenge. And he gets the best lines.

You can almost smell the alcohol on the breath of this likeable larrikin, and it's no surprise that all the girls fall for him, despite his dubious wardrobe. Starkey's notoriety works in his favour as he seeks help from unlikely sources: a newspaperman from Boston (Richard Gant) and a stripping nun cum nurse(Rachel Griffith does a terrific job of fleshing out this potentially gimmicky role). The plot twists and turns and it even has a satisfying ending.

Pretty much everything you could want from a romance/thriller/black comedy. I recommend it.

movie poster, Divorcing Jack

Click here to buy films from one of the online stores in Festivale's on-line shopping mallNicky Jenkins
See also: Lev's review for credits and filmography links
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Just the facts:

Title: Divorcing Jack (1998)
The credits are attached to Lev's review

The Players: David Thewlis, Rachel Griffiths
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Festivale Online Magazine
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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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