Divorcing reality

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Picture

Divorcing reality

Divorcing Jack
Directed by David Caffrey

Review by Tyrion Perkins

The first thing I heard about Divorcing Jack was that it was a controversial film set a year in the future, in an independent Northern Ireland. It sounded interesting, and all the reviews described it as a quirky black comedy. But when one of the title screens said "BBC", alarm bells should have rung as to whose view it is.

It's about the lead-up to an election for the leader of Northern Ireland, the favourite candidate magically being able to pull together the two sides in peace without any issues being addressed. His qualifications are that he's been hurt in a bomb blast and changed his name from O'Brien to Brinn.

The main character is a writer of a satirical political column, who gets caught up in the chase for a cassette tape of the confession of Brinn to having been in the IRA and that he was actually planting the bomb that hurt him.

The Protestant paramilitaries are portrayed as idiot skinheads with tattoos on their faces who shoot people just for fun, with no other purpose. The IRA are portrayed as evil villains who enjoy torturing and killing people, their only purpose being to get a million dollars in return for the tape. In the end, they blow up the candidate and he blows them up.

Nothing is ever said about Irish control of Ireland; no British troops are seen; nothing is said about any underlying issues. It's just peace versus conflict, with no causes.

Considering the history and the inequalities and repression that still exist in Northern Ireland, this film is very much the pro-British occupation point of view. If the writer, also a satirical journalist in Northern Ireland, really could not understand the political issues, then he must see the Irish as stupid people who want to keep killing each other, which is how the British have portrayed the Irish for a long time.

I hope the next time a talented, quirky black comedy comes out of Northern Ireland, it has some relation to reality.