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Divorcing Jack 

110 minutes, Certificate 15. Mosaic Movies 1998. VHS Amazon Co UK DVD  Amazon Co UK

Director David Caffrey. Starring Robert Lindsay, David Thewlis, Laura Fraser, Rachel Griffiths and Jason Isaacs. 

Most of the recent films set in Ulster Ė Some Motherís Son springs to mind Ė have been thinly disguised republican propaganda. Not so Divorcing Jack. Itís based on Colin Batemanís bestselling first novel, which appeared some years ago. It was actually filmed in Belfast. Naturally, as Bateman was once the editor of the Bangor Spectator, some of the action was shot in the Co Down town.

Set in an independent Ulster state in 1999, Thewlis plays a cynical journalist who has to cover the election campaign of Michael Brinn, a slick politician (played by Robert Lindsay) in the company of a Black American journalist from the Boston Globe. Dan Starkey, Thewlisís character, is the hard-drinking pary-loving kind and this gets him into trouble. He invites Margaret, an art student he meets in the Botanic Gardens, to a party. A misunderstanding leads to him being thrown out by his angry wife, Patricia.

The student, a former girlfriend of a notorious IRA man, invites him back to her place, a fancy warehouse loft where she can practise her art. Obviously her father is quite well off. When Starkey returns from a pizza-buying errand, he finds that Margaret has become the victim of a brutal murder.

He panics and runs, covered in Margaretís blood. On the run, helped by an unlikely nun, everyone from the police, the IRA and the UVF are on his tail. Why? Itís something to do with Margaretís last words, ĎDivorcing Jackí. What does this mean? Starkey has to find the answer before some of his pursuers catch up with him. It involves the past of the slick and polished Michael Brinn. You wonít rest in your seats at the twists and turns of this superb and hilarious thriller. Belfast folk will also enjoy trying to work out where various scenes were shot. You must see this film!

David Kerr


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