Divorcing Jack (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

"Divorcing Jack" is a sometimes hilarious, sometimes thrilling, sometimes touching story about a journalist in big trouble in a scary environment.

David Thewlis stars as Dan Starkey, a perpetually drunk satire columnist for a Belfast newspaper. Not a low-risk job, by any means. The IRA terrorists are not generally well known for their ability to take a joke. In fact, nobody in Belfast seems to find anything in politics funny except Starkey.

As the complex action begins, somehow, he's managed to pick up a really great looking student on his way home to a party. His wife doesn't really appreciate the interaction between Starkey and the student, and she kicks his butt out of the house, which of course force-kicks him squarely into the student's apartment.


Laura Fraser appears topless while she is dying in bed.
And this is no ordinary student. Her dad is an important industrialist, and ex-boyfriend is a terrorist who is in prison for several murders.

The columnist and the girlfriend get hungry after a bout of lovemaking, he goes out for pizza, and when he returns the apartment has been fragged and the girl has been brutally murdered. And he accidentally kills her mother when he thinks she is the escaping murderer.

So now he is the main suspect in a double murder.

And he doesn't have any friends in town. He has taken public potshots at the law enforcement officers, politicians, terrorists, and extremists on both sides. There isn't a Catholic or a Protestant in the whole country who cares whether Starkey goes to jail or, for that matter, to hell.

DVD info from Amazon.

Available only for rental, and only at Blockbuster. No features at all, and you have to listen to the ads before the film!

I really like this movie. I watch something like a thousand movies a year, hoping to see ten that are worthwhile, and this is one of them.

It is fast-paced and it is a lot of different things. It is funny, it is a good thriller, it is touching, it is political, it even has stylized mob-type violence. It is about the pain of northern Ireland, and the cynics who exploit that pain. It is about love and betrayal, war and peace and fun.

And journalist Dan Starkey ends up the film by telling the Queen to go fuck herself. Ya gotta love that.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: never screened or released in the USA, no major reviews on line.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.1, and I agree that it is that good or better.
  • With their dollars ... no theatrical release in the USA. It grossed about a half million pounds in UK.
My guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a B. Good movie, albeit unrecognized and unheralded. It works quite well as a thriller and as a comedy. The characterizations are charming and interesting. The acting is terrific. The action is high-voltage. You'll like it if you can understand their damned accents.

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