“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Sun Comes Up On Galway Bay: Or, Jack Taylor Hits The Silver Screen


‘Jack Taylor’, the pilot for the movies based on Ken Bruen’s THE GUARDS, screened last night on TV3, and I have to say - reluctantly - that I don’t buy Iain Glen (above, left) in the lead. It doesn’t help that his faux-Irish accent wanders all over the map, but that’s not the biggest problem.
  The script, and particularly in the voice-overs, makes something whimsical of Jack Taylor’s fatalism. In the movie, Jack Taylor is a broth of a boy, prone to the odd eye-twinkle, a tough man to deal with if you push him too hard.
  In the novels, or in my reading of them at least, Jack Taylor is a dangerous bastard to know, a man fuelled on anger and Jameson, a man who is as hard as only the truly brittle can be, who know that just one more shove or punch or insult could shatter the façade.
  It also doesn’t help that the movie, being a movie, needed to make of THE GUARDS a straightforward narrative of investigation, whereas the novel, and all the Taylor novels, are a post-modern take on the detective story, for the most part philosophical ruminations occasionally linked by the need to have some investigative narrative.
  I suppose the difference is that, in the movie, Jack Taylor was investigating a series of crimes, rather than investigating Galway itself as a microcosm of the new Ireland.
  There was a lot to like, it has to be said, not least of which was the depiction of Galway city, and there were some good performances in the minor roles. And hey, maybe Iain Glen has the chops to convince an audience that isn’t familiar with the Bruen novels. Fans, though, will be disappointed, I think. For some promo vids, and to make up your own mind, clickety-click here
  Meanwhile, it’s been a busy week for Irish crime fiction. Staying with TV3, the ever-radiant Alex Barclay was on the Ireland AM couch, talking up her latest offering, TIME OF DEATH. The conversation includes a very nice shout-out to John Connolly and Declan Hughes - clickety-click here for more
  Staying with Declan Hughes … I don’t know if you could call Emma Donoghue’s new novel, ROOM, a crime novel, even though it concerns itself with some rather despicable criminal activity, but Squire Hughes was suitably impressed when reviewing it for the Irish Times. All the details are here
  Staying with reviews: the eagle-eyed Maxine Clarke has organised her reviews by country over at the Petrona blog, and her introduction to her Irish reviews cites Gene Kerrigan, Brian McGilloway, Alan Glynn and, erm, yours truly. But don’t let that put you off - there’s some really good stuff just about here
  Elsewhere, Peter Rozovsky reviews Declan Hughes’ latest, CITY OF LOST GIRLS, while the good word has already started to tumble in for Stuart Neville’s COLLUSION
  Finally, and veering off the straight-and-narrow of crime fiction, congrats to all who were responsible for having Dublin declared a UNESCO City of Literature last week; and congrats too to Irish scribes Emma Donoghue and Paul Murray, both of whom were long-listed for the Booker Prize, for ROOM and SKIPPY DIES respectively.
  Nice work, folks. Very nice indeed …

8 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Tis a shame. Sometimes they don't get what makes a book tick do they? I think of a horrible Rebus I saw on DVD recently. Just made him an old bore.

Declan Burke said...

Well, it didn't do it for me, Patti, but there's every chance that that's because I have a very particular image of Jack Taylor in my head. It'll be interesting to see what people who haven't read the novels made of it ...

Cheers, Dec

Mike Cane said...

I am in America, so cannot see it unless the Internet is kind.

I did a Tumblr post where I did note the actor made Jack look seedier than I had imagined.

I still want to see it for myself.

I hope Bruen made some good coin from it at least.

Naomi Johnson said...

I, too, have a specific image of Jack Taylor in my head. I want to see the film, but truth is, it'll take a hell of a screenplay and incredible chops from Iain Glen to knock my mental take sideways. Will it be possible to enjoy them as two separate things, do you think, great books and a decent PI movie that just happen to have a main character with the same name?

le0pard13 said...

I'd like to see this still. THE GUARDS is the only Bruen I've taken in, so far. Plus, the Jack Taylor in my head is heavily influenced by Gerry O'Brien who was the narrator of the audiobook version I took in early in the year. So, I'd like to compare Iain Glen's take to how Gerry performed it. Thanks for the early look, DB.

Declan Burke said...

Thanks, folks.

I got a call from my brother earlier, who hasn't read the Taylor novels, and he liked the 'Jack Taylor' movie, with some reservations ... So there you go. What do I know?

Cheers, Dec

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

I have not read any of Bruen's JT novels, or any of his novels, yet. But at first glimpse, I thought the actor was Donnie Wahlberg. I'm in the US as well so, might be a while until I see it.

Michael Malone said...

Let's face it, the movie version is never going to quite cut it. You just got to hope that they make a decent movie and that KB gets some decent sales off the back of it.

The accent thing is always annoying, eh? Especially to the native speaker. I can't listen to Mel Gibson in Braveheart without wanting to throw something at the TV.