As we pick up the progress of Australian lawyer Cleaver Green, played with admirable panache by the wonderful Richard Roxburgh in Rake: Series 3, released on DVD by Acorn Media on September 12 2017, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve been sucked into a hurricane. With Green as the calm within the storm, it’s no surprise everything around him is just as out of control as it was in the previous two seasons of this beautifully scatological television show.
For those who’ve not seen the previous two seasons (both of which are also available through Acorn Media) it might take a bit to sort out the various ongoing plots and the assortment of characters who make up Greene’s circle of friends, work associates, and enemies. However, if you just sit back and enjoy the ride you’ll soon figure out what’s going on. It might get a bit bumpy at times, but that’s half the fun.
What’s wonderful about this series is how it can transition from absurdist comedy to moments of pathos with perfect ease. Of course some of this is due to the quality of the show’s writers and directors, but a great deal of the credit has to be given to entire cast. As the central character most of the onus for carrying the series is on Roxburgh. However, not only is he up to the challenge, he seems to revel in playing his character. This is as perfect an example of a tour de force performance as you’ll ever see on television.
Of course he doesn’t work in a vacuum – and those surrounding him are equally brilliant in their abilities to bring their roles to life and how they relate, and react, to Green. However, unless you’ve watched any other Australian television, you won’t recognize either their names or faces. (With the exception of a hysterical cameo by Roxburgh’s buddy Cate Blanchett in episode three) Rest assured, you’ve not seen such a fine ensemble cast outside of the glory days of shows like Murphy Brown and the work of Norman Lear.
However, be also warned, you’ll also have never seen or heard this amount of drug use, nudity, sex, or swearing on television over here outside of deep cable. This is definitely not a show for young children. That being said, there is nothing gratuitous about anything depicted in the show. Remember this is a show about a man fighting his demons and trying to find the calm place in the storm he’s made of his life.
There aren’t many television shows which can have you pissing yourself with laughter one moment and close to real tears in the next. Moving from the incredibly absurd, Green’s ex-wife’s attempt at getting married ending in a hostage situation, to the very real sympathy and compassion Green has for his clients and those he cares for, the show covers a ton of ground with a gritty reality and light touch that make it a wonder to behold.
The special features included in this set is limited to a five minute gag reel (consisting mainly of watching everybody else trying to keep a straight face when Roxburgh blows his lines) but that’s not what you’re going to watch this series for. Rake: Series 3 continues down the path of excellence established by the first two seasons of this great television show. With scripts that continue to be both topical and intelligent, and brilliant acting from all involved, this is a show that shouldn’t be missed by anyone.