Jack Irish: Series 1 (Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 23-Mar-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 342
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jeffrey Walker
Studio
Distributor
ABC Films
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Guy Pearce
Roy Billing
Shane Jacobson
Steve Bisley
Anthony Hayes
Aaron Pedersen
Neil Melville
Colin Friels
Marta Dusseldorp
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $49.95 Music David McCormack


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     The ABC has been churning out some great drama over the last few years including shows like The Straits, Janet King, Miss Fisher and more. Another show to join this list is Jack Irish, now transformed from a series of three telemovies into a 6 part television series. I reviewed the previously released telemovies here and here. The films were based on novels by Peter Temple, an Australian writer who moved from South Africa in 1980 and began writing crime fiction in the mid-1990s. He has since gone on to win a number of awards including the Miles Franklin Award for Australian novels. This new 6 hour series does not seem to be based on a specific novel but rather it seems that the writers have taken the characters into a new story.

     As with the three films, the series features the titular Jack Irish (Guy Pearce) as the main character, and what an interesting and different lead character he is for a thriller/mystery plot. He is not a crusading cop, prosecutor, private detective or amateur sleuth as most protagonists in this sort of show are one or the other of. He is a gambler, involved with helping colourful racing identities, a debt collector, a sometimes lawyer and a cabinet making apprentice. He is a complex and interesting character who is trying to rebuild his life after his wife was murdered by a legal client of his 10 years before. He spends his days helping out his dodgy mates, collecting debts and hanging round his favourite pub, The Prince of Prussia which is one of the last bastions of belief that Fitzroy Football Club have not moved to Brisbane. His father was a Fitzroy star who died young in an alcohol fuelled fight. Characters which appeared in all three films and this series include his sort of boss, colourful racing identity Harry Strang (Roy Billing) and his minder, Cam (Aaron Pedersen), a policeman, Detective Barry Tregear who sort of helps Jack (Shane Jacobsen) and TV reporter/Jack's on/off girlfriend Linda Hillier (Marta Dusseldorp).

     This excellent series expands the stories beyond Victoria taking Linda on a journey to the Philippines and into the heart of terrorism. At the same time, Jack is asked to help out finding an ex-con Wayne Dilthey, however soon Dilthey is dead and Jack is accused of his murder. Also a young woman has gone missing after doing some missionary work in The Philippines for a 'happy clapper' style church called The Way of the Cross. The church is led by charismatic preacher, Rob Shand (Marcus Graham), who seems to know more about the missing girl than he is letting on. The girl, Tina Longmore (Brooke Satchwell) is also the daughter of an Australian Senator, who also seems to be involved. As the story continues, Jack meets the senator's other, older daughter, Sarah (Claudia Karvan) who has a bad relationship with her father. Jack and Sarah team up to investigate as their outcomes converge. The story goes in a number of different directions over the six episodes including big business, hired thugs, horse racing, Islamic terrorists, sex parties and more. As usual, there is lots of light relief from the old guys at The Prince of Prussia, the barman's romantic entanglements and the situations which Harry tends to put Jack into, this time including a racehorse stabled in Jack's courtyard.

     Taking this out of telemovies into a 6 hour series has allowed the writers to open up the plot and expand the show's horizons which is working really well. This is not to say that the other stories were not of quality just that the longer format helps to provide a more complex and layered story. As previously the acting is top drawer led by Pearce as the terminally depressed and downtrodden lead character. The writing and directing are also of top quality leading to an enthralling series. The series is spread across 2 dual layer Blu-ray discs.

     These movies are definitely something to savour for fans of quality Australian movie making, whether for television or the cinema. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is very good.

     The series is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080i.

     The picture was nicely clear and sharp throughout, showing good facial detail. Shadow detail is very good.

     The colour is very good, showing off the various locations such as jungles and racetracks.

     There were no noticeable artefacts.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which were clear and easy to read.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio quality is very good.

     The discs contain an English soundtrack in DTS HD-MA 5.1. The soundtrack is clear and impactful with quite a lot of surround presence and front separation.

     Dialogue was reasonably clear and easy to understand although a little low in the mix at times.

     The music by David McCormack plays a significant role in the production, adding atmosphere and style.

     The surround speakers were well used for gun fights, explosions, chase scenes and music and the subwoofer supported the music and explosions.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    One extra.

Menu

    The menu featured music and scenes.

Behind the Scenes (9:55)

    Short promotional featurette focused on discussions with the cast around their characters, the use of three directors, the writing and storytelling and how the relationship between Jack and Linda has developed. OK.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This series is not yet available outside of Region B.

Summary

    Jack Irish, the Australian thriller/mystery moves from telemovie to fully fledged series at the same high quality.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    One minor extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, March 21, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMR-PWT500, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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