35 user 12 critic

Divorcing Jack (1998)

Not Rated | | Thriller, Comedy | 2 October 1998 (UK)
Black romantic comedy set around the troubled "peace process" and its effect on a cynical Belfast hack.



(novel), (screenplay)

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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Patricia Starkey
Taxi Driver
Agnes Brinn
Michael Brinn
Adam Black ...
Young Starkey
Simon Magill ...
Starkey's Brother
George Shane ...
Alan McKee ...
Brian Devlin ...
Dans' work mate
Sean Caffrey ...


A married drunk hooks up with the ex-girlfriend of a vicious local criminal. He gets booted out of home for his infidelity, has a murderer on his tail, and must try to write the story of his life in order to save his journalism job. He gets help from a stripper dressed as a nun and goes undercover dressed as Shaggy from Scooby Doo. He finds a drinking buddy in an American fellow journalist. Written by K. Wedgwood

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Thriller | Comedy


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

2 October 1998 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Elválni Jacktől  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£121,394 (United Kingdom), 4 October 1998, Limited Release
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The scene set at a market on Bangor seafront was actually filmed in nearby Donaghadee. See more »


[first lines]
Dan: [voiceover] When I was 8 years old, I woke up in the middle of the night and found my brother pissing on my typewriter. I decided then and there that there was something wonderful about alcohol.
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Crazy Credits

After the credits roll the taxi driver can be heard screaming her catchphrase: "Fuck away off and die!" See more »


References Doctor Zhivago (1965) See more »


Stay A While
Written by Caroline Finch
Performed by Linoleum
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User Reviews

A black comedy with a message; highly underrated
19 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

A vastly underrated film that was practically ignored by both critics and viewers, Divorcing Jack is a highly enjoyable, and often powerful, film with a terrific cast and a very clever title that keeps you interested to the last minute. It's good to see David Thewlis, one of the finest British actors of his generation, play the lead in a British film – as he did in his prime, and not a side character in Hollywoodian films like Harry Potter. His performance in Divorcing Jack isn't quite as remarkable as the one he gave five years before in Naked but it's fantastic by its own right, and just like in Naked Thewlis creates an anti-hero that is egoistic, weak, detestable, and entirely believable; if you're looking for a noble hero to sacrifice himself for the greater good because that's the right thing to do, look elsewhere. Dan Starkey cares for himself and makes excuses for nobody; and that makes him a protagonist you can relate to.

There are some neat surprises in the supporting cast: Australian born Rachel Griffiths – AKA Brenda Chenowith of HBO's terrific Six Feet Under – who was practically anonymous in 1998, is terrific as Thewlis' prostitute-in-nun's-clothing sidekick, and supplies some of the film's funniest moments. Jason Isaacs, who, like Thewlis, has recently familiarized himself with American audiences through the Harry Potter movies, in bone-chillingly excellent in the lead villain role. The beautiful Laura Fraser (who had recently made a career for herself in Hollywood with supporting roles in movies like Titus, Vanilla Sky, and A Knight's Tale; but anyone who happened to catch the excellent BBC mini-series Neverwhere will surely remember her as the charming Door) has a part that's brief but unforgettable. American TV regular Richard Grant is lovely and believable as the visiting reporter from the US who came to cover the upcoming elections but is more interested in learning about the difference between the different types of scotch. And experienced British actor Robert Lindsay steals the show as the dodgy candidate. Finally, a brief but hilarious cameo from the charming Bronagh Gallagher (The Commitments) as a taxi driver.

The film's messages about the horrors and idiocy of war and particularly the Irish civil war are familiar and would have been corny in a straight drama, but as in Catch-22 and other classic black comedies, the absurd humor of the film makes it powerful. If you take any of the two aspects of the film – comedic or political – and separate it from the other, maybe it really isn't all that good. Perhaps that's why it failed to find its audience in the US and most of Europe. Myself, I've lived my entire life in Israel, and am familiar with a war between two neighboring factions that always seems on the brink of resolution just before the situation explodes again, and that has its highest price in the innocent lives of people on both sides who just want to be left alone in peace, while the leaders of both peoples carry on their senseless warmongering. Divorcing Jack has a simplistic view of the situation but it's important to make it heard. The ending is inevitable and almost predictable, yet it's the only proper ending this story could possibly have. Divorcing Jack is highly recommended; it's neither a romantic comedy nor a straight thriller, but it's a good and powerful film to enjoy and to think about.

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