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Guy Pearce is certainly up to the challenge here, but Jack Irish is nowhere near as engaging as it should be...
Acorn Media / 202 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: October 1, 2013
As a character, Jack Irish (Guy Pearce), sees his world crumble to pieces around him, and this makes it all the more difficult to draw attention to the manipulative plot devices that are constantly at work on this Series 1 compilation. One’s heart aches for Irish as he tries to deal with the new parameters of his upended personal situation, but even with Pearce’s star power working at full capacity, Jack Irish never quite comes together.
The first of the two episodes included here opens with Irish living the perfect life – he’s an accomplished Australian barrister with a thriving practice, and his wife is a hot young thing. But then he loses a case for a high-profile client, and this snaps the client’s sanity: he murders Irish’s wife out of vengeful spite. Despair looms for poor Irish, and after a quick fast-forward, we learn that he’s still a great lawmaker, but the devil of alcohol looms large in both his personal and professional lives.
In short, we’ve been here a hundred times before. It’s easy to be forgiving to serial television when it comes to cliché – as an audience, we seem to let a lot of stuff go – but even though this Jack Irish: Series 1 set is technically sound in high-def, aside from some excellent performances from Pearce and company, it’s a faint echo of what it had the potential to be. You feel sorry for the guy, but not quite involved in the narrative of his plight.