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JPFmovies goes to the land down under for our next review: Rake (2010-2018)

Rake is about love, madness, addiction, and the law–in short, it is about modern life.  How can you go wrong with series premises like that?  You can’t!  Rake is an Australian television program.  It stars Richard Roxburgh as rake Cleaver Greene, a dazzling but self-destructive Sydney criminal law barrister, defending typically guilty clients.  Outside of the courtroom, Cleaver Greene is immature, reckless and self-destructive.  Inside of the courtroom, he is pretty much the same, but his reckless courtroom antics help his indefensible clients escape justice.  During his free time, Cleaver wastes away the hours at a local brothel with his favorite girl, Melissa Patridge, if that is her real name as well as doing a cornucopia of drugs from cocaine to booze to marijuana.  Although his trouble with the opposite sex is fairly evident, his gambling addiction is far worse and usually ends with him being beaten by Col Mancusi a petty criminal.

Due to his gambling, Cleaver faces his own day in court, as he pairs off against his rival, Harry, Sorry, David Potter (Matt Day). The pair not only fight over Cleaver’s tax records, but also Melissa. Cleaver relies on his ex-wife, Wendy Greene (Carline Brazier), for advice from time to time, which also leads to complications. Things get a little crazy, when they discover their son, Fuzz Greene (Keegan Joyce), is having a questionable affair.

 

Of course, Cleaver gets into relationship trouble of his own, when he slips up and winds up in bed with Barney’s wife, Scarlet (Danielle Cormack). Despite attempts to keep the affair secret, it eventually emerges and could potentially ruin things between Cleaver and Barney.  Rake also straddles the high/low cultural divide.  Cleaver frequently quotes Yeats, is a fan of Balzac, but remains distinctly Australian, with sayings like “Christ on a bike” or “Fuck me Sideways.” And in one Cleaver even tells a priest: “I could out-Nietzsche you at five paces.”

With his many flaws, and blunt, dismissive outlook, Cleaver Greene joins a long list of charismatic television anti-heroes likes Tony Soprano or Saul Goodman.

Although his morals are questionable, close friends and colleagues still rely on Cleaver. Underneath it all, he seems to generally try to do the right thing, although it usually ends badly.

Rake is definitely a hilarious show that is packed with plenty of drama and a tad bit emotion every once in a while. Throughout the entire first season, all of the performances were excellent and each of the characters, despite all of their flaws, are somewhat likable. Still, it is Richard Roxburgh, who leads the way and manages to keep everything funny, but realistic, inside and outside of the courtroom.

All of the supporting characters help to enhance the show significantly. Russell Dykstra and Matt Day do an excellent job helping to balance out Cleaver’s crazy antics. While the show is meant to be funny, it takes a fun approach to exposing some of the hypocrisies of society. Don’t be surprised, if you find yourself nodding in agreement, with some of the political statements in Rake.  All in all, the show is tremendously clever, sufficiently hilarious and definitely worth the watch.

If you have access to Netflix, watch the Australian version of the series the JPFmovies staff was uniform in its admiration for this original series.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2018 in cheesy television, Movie Reviews

 

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Heavenly Mission–Hong Kong Triads, A Great Lawyer and the Bad Guys Win!

Heavenly Mission–Hong Kong Triads, A Great Lawyer and the Bad Guys Win!   I have to tell you this movie came out of left field for me.  I watched this flick expecting nothing more than a run of the mill HK Triad movie and I have to eat crow on my assumption.  This movie was refreshingly well written, good acting, had a great lawyer and best of all the bad guys win–or at least don’t lose.  The story focuses on a triad gang member (Yip) who gets out of a Thai prison after serving 8 years for manslaughter.  His return to the HK Triad scene is not welcome by the police who are determined to put him behind bars again whether or not he actually commits a crime.  Needless to say, Yip has had eight years to plan his return and has anticipated most (but not all) of the HK Anti-Triad Unit’s tactics to keep him away from society.  I love it when the “good guys” are portrayed as criminals with badges who will break the law as much as their targets to get what they want–motives which are not as pure as the driven white snow.  Though it is a close call, Yip and his team manage to stay one step ahead of the task force formed specifically to keep him behind bars.  If you can handle subtitles and want to see a movie based on a different perspective than typical Americana, take the two hours and watch this one, you will not be disappointed.

A rose.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2010 in Movie Reviews

 

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