An IRA film with a difference, Neil Jordan's The Crying Game
takes the Anglo-Irish conflict as the starting point for a thoughtful, often poignant and sometimes humorous examination of gender and identity. Stephen Rea is the IRA volunteer who befriends a kidnapped British soldier (the gauche but likeable Forest Whitaker), then takes the questions of loyalty and instinct (the "frog and scorpion" fable) with him to London, where he falls for the dead man's girlfriend (the appealing Jaye Davidson). Love and terrorism are fused in a violent and suspenseful denouement, where truth manifests itself in an unexpected yet meaningful way.
Miranda Richardson and Adrian Dunbar are persuasive as the IRA agents, and there are excellent cameos from Jim Broadbent as an East End barman and Tony Slattery as a property shark, all making the most of Jordan's stylish, Academy Award-winning script. Anne (Art of Noise) Dudley contributes a moodily atmospheric score, with three versions of "When a Man Loves a Woman" to point up the gender issue.
On the DVD: The Crying Game comes to disc with a widescreen picture that reproduces adequately for an early 90s film. The soundtrack, though, has real presence. There are subtitles in English and Russian(!), though the theatrical trailer is hardly a major bonus. An interview or a commentary with Jordan, discussing the motivation behind the project, would really have benefited a film which cuts across genres so successfully as this. --Richard Whitehouse
Fergus (Stephen Rea), an IRA member, is standing guard over a British soldier (Forest Whitaker) who the IRA have taken hostage. Against the orders of his superiors, he engages in conversation with the man, who tells him about his lover Dil (Jaye Davidson), who lives in London. Moved by his captive's plight he helps him in a failed escape attempt, which leaves the soldier dead and Fergus on the run from the IRA. He changes his name and moves to London, where he seeks out the exotic Dil.