on 3 June 2013
For the best part of its first third, "The Crying Game" is utterly predictable and quite boring. Plus Forest Whitaker in the part of a British soldier - I don't think so, "mate"...
And then...and then...as Fergus arrives in London and meets Dil, the movie takes a whole different, powerful meaning. "The Crying Game" then reveals its true subject: the meaning and the nature of love, as well as our complete uselessness as human beings when it hits us - even if the circumstances are absolutely incredible/impossible. It is only then that Neil Jordan's very artful directing and beautiful lightning start to hit the spot. Jaye Davidson has a big responsibility for the film taking off as it does, but Jordan's very romantic direction helps too.
I can only regret that the "gimmick" that made the film famous is still the one thing that lures people to this movie because at the end of the day it is a beautiful love story, and it throws quite a lot of questions to us rock-hard heterosexuals, and in particular this one: Can one fall in love irrespective of gender? And what does it take to live with it?
Four stars only because there are some mild execution problems (the hostage bit -way too developped, Whitaker -miscast, and Miranda Richardson -annoyingly noisy).
Bar that, a must-see.
On top of it, the bonuses are brilliant: a very thoughtful commentary by Neil Jordan and a fascinating 50mns making-of, made years later, with discussions with producers, Director Neil Jordan, actor Stephen Rea and even a former IRA prisoner. A great release indeed.
Unfortunately by the time I got to the theater to see "The Crying Game" I already knew about the big surprise. I had been avoiding seeing or hearing anything about the movie and was flipping channels when I paused on David Letterman long enough for him to give away the big surprise. I was no more happy with his off-the cuff revealation than I was when Charles Schulz revealed the ending to "Citizen Kane" one Sunday in "Peanuts." However, in the final analysis what makes Neil Jordan's 1992 film really memorable is not the big surprise, but rather that the writer-director comes up with a fourth act to take what has been set up in the previous three to a new level.
[I will endeavor to write this review without giving away the big secret although in the wake of Jaye Davidson's Oscar nomination and Billy Crystal's memorable song about "The Crying Game" at the Academy Awards there cannot be too many people who are not in on the surprise at this point.]
Act One has Jude (Miranda Richardson) enticing Jody (Forest Whitaker), a English soldier stationed in Northern Ireland, into an IRA trap. Jody is taken to a secluded house in the forest where he is watched over by Fergus (Stephen Rea), who seems to have more of a conscience that the rest of the group. Maguire (Adrian Dunbar), the leader of the group, plans on exchanging Jody for members of the IRA held by the British, but neither Jody nor Fergus think there is much chance of that happening. The question is whether Fergus is going to be able to shoot Jody when the inevitable moment comes, and while this could be (and has been) the subject of an entire film, it is only Jordan's opening act.
In Act Two we find that Fergus has changed his name to Jimmy and is doing construction work to hide out from both the British and the IRA. Haunted by a photograph of Jody and his girlfriend, "Jimmy" visits the salon where she works and has Dil (Jaye Davidson) do his hair. Jimmy is attracted to Dil, but his feelings include a mixture of guilt as well. Clearly this relationship is headed for the inevitable moment when Dil finds out that Jimmy was involved with what happened to Jody. Again, this is a storyline that has been the subject of entire movies, but the twist is that before Dil finds out Jimmy's big secret, Dil has a bigger surprise for Jimmy.
As we get into Act Three the focus is clearly on what will happen to the relationship between Jimmy and Dil. Jordan does a reasonable good job of playing it as being able to go either way, and although we have our suspicions given what we know about Jimmy, I think we are dealing with shades of gray rather than clearcut black & white. It is at this point that Jordan earns his fifth star by coming up with a final act where what happened in the previous acts comes back with a vengeance.
Ultimately, what makes this a very good film is the simple fact that you do not see how the end game is going to play out (including the final scene and the song selected for the fade to black). There are certainly those who saw the big surprise coming from the start (I went to the movie with one of those people), but beyond the strong feeling that things are not going to work out well in the end the ending of "The Crying Game" is not at all predictable. Besides, what matters is not what happens but what Jimmy is trying to do, against the mounting odds.
The credit for the success of this film clearly goes to Jordan, as writer and director, which is amply evidences by the "alternate ending" provided on the DVD. This was the ending first shot for the movie, at the dictate of the backers, but was jettisoned in favor of the ending originally written, which was then shot. But "The Crying Game" also has the advantage of Rea's moving performance. He makes what his character feels and does seem totally believable in the face of an entire series of truly bizarre situations, and whatever shortcomings there are in the first time performance of Davidson are more than counter-balanced by what Rae does in this film.
on 12 September 2013
Irish screenwriter, producer and director Neil Jordan`s seventh feature film which he wrote, premiered at the 49th Venice Film Festival in 1992, was screened at the 17th Toronto International Film Festival in 1992, was shot on location in England and Ireland and is a UK-Japan co-production which was produced by producer Stephen Woolley. It tells the story about an Irish Volunteer in the IRA named Fergus Clegg who whilst staying with a small group of other IRA terrorists in Belfast, Northern Ireland kidnaps an English soldier named Jody whom a woman named Jude has lured into a trap. Whilst guarding the soldier who believes that it is only a matter of time before he will be killed, Fergus becomes acquainted with him an learns about his girlfriend named Dil who works at a hair salon in the capital city of England, but as Fergus begins to appreciate Jody`s company and regard him as his friend he is assigned to assassinate him by his superior named Peter.
Distinctly and precisely directed by Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated mostly from the two main characters` viewpoints, draws an intriguing and multifaceted portrayal of an Irishman who travels to London, England to honor a friend`s last wish and to get away from his associations with the Irish Republican Army. While notable for its variegated and naturalistic milieu depictions, sterling cinematography by English cinematographer Ian Wilson, production design by production designer Jim Clay and use of colors and light, this character-driven and narrative-driven story about deception, attraction and overcoming one`s preconceptions where a hairdresser and singer whom has just left her boyfriend one day gets a new customer who introduces himself as a Scottish native and later shows up at the bar where she sings, depicts two interrelated and charming studies of character and contains a great score by English composer Anne Dudley.
This somewhat political, conversational and eloquently romantic psychological thriller from the early 1990s which is set in Belfast, Northern Ireland and London, England during the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the late 20th century and where a man presents himself with another name than his own to a stranger he only knows from a picture, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, subtle continuity, endearing and colorful characters, brilliant dialog, merging of themes and genres, timely use of music and remarkable acting performances by Irish actor Stephen Rea, American actor Jaye Davidson in his debut feature film role, English actress Miranda Richardson and American actor, producer and director Forest Whitaker. A prominently atmospheric, incisively humorous and memorable love-story which gained, among numerous other awards, the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film at the 46th BAFTA Awards in 1993.
I’ve always made liberal use of Mike Leigh’s film title and, once again, it fits to a tee Neil Jordan’s 1992 sexual-political thriller. As a genre, the 'sexual-political thriller’ is (I would contend) a rare one, encompassing a level of creativity and innovation that typifies Jordan’s work as a writer-director – simply take his greatest films (Angel, The Company of Wolves, Mona Lisa, Michael Collins, The Butcher Boy, The End Of The Affair, Breakfast On Pluto, etc) and we get an impressive range of themes and styles, from straight politics, comedies, romance, fantasy, gangsters, coming-of-age, etc. The Crying Game’s juxtaposition of political terrorism and transgender sexuality is still pretty much unique (as far as I can tell) and the fact that Jordan is able, via an admittedly (at times) outlandish plot, to create a thrilling, moving and very funny film is testament to the man’s cinematic skill. The use by Jordan of the film’s sexual theme, as delivered (in a lead role) by Jaye Davidson’s superb debut turn as Dil, is particularly original (and, in commercial film-making terms, brave).
Jordan also seems to have a way with actors, consistently coaxing great performances, and The Crying Game is no exception. 'Regular’ Stephen Rea is again outstanding as the 'wavering terrorist’ Fergus, whose 'bonding’ scene with Forrest Whittaker’s kidnapped squaddie, Jody, in the film’s opening sequence is brilliantly done (Whittaker just about gets away with his cricketing fanatic Brit). Equally brilliant (and, I feel, frequently overlooked for good film roles) are Adrian Dunbar as the ruthless top IRA man, Maguire, and Miranda Richardson, Northern Irish accent and all, as Maguire’s sidekick, the (latterly) 'larger-than-life’, Jude. Jordan is a truly great writer of witty dialogue and here, set against the film’s serious themes of common humanity, guilt and deception, he provides some great comic moments, predominantly around Fergus’ ‘emasculation’ (the scene where he re-renters the bar, having had his 'eyes opened’, is a picture). The film’s comedic qualities are enhanced by (at least) two great supporting cameos – the great Jim Broadbent’s turn as the barman and 'conversation middle-man’, Col (in a rerun of his character from Mike Leigh’s Life Is Sweet, made two years earlier) and Tony Slattery’s Porsche-driving yuppie (and property developer), Deveroux.
Jordan’s use of music is also frequently evocative (and apt) – here, particular highlights being Percy Sledge’s When A Man Loves A Woman over the opening credits (whose irony is obviously lost on first viewing) and to close, Lyle Lovett’s version of Stand By Your Man ('Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman….’). It’s a film I can’t remember having seen since its initial release, but one that is well worth revisiting.
on 10 July 2007
I first saw this movie quite by accident,i orriginally rented it.
There was nothing on tv and i wanted something to watch.
This movie is gripping,and sometimes almost funny.
One of the best films i have ever seen.
Watch it once and you will watch it again and again.
Brilliant acting by all.A truly fantastic film!!!!!
It is just a shame i could only give it 5 stars,because this deserves 10
Watch it and enjoy!!!!!!!!
on 13 July 2011
This is one of my top ten films of all time. I saw this film when it was first released and was spellbound and dazzled as I laughed and cried with the characters through the twists and turns in the story.I recently bought the DVD and if anything this film improves with age. Stephen Reas' performance is masterly and conveys effortlessly the gradual yet seismic change in his character in response to unfolding events with the raise of an eyebrow and the look in his eyes. He undoubtedly should have won the Oscar for best male actor and in my view is the best actor on either side of the atlantic then and now.
This film has everything,it is a tense and taught thriller and a tender love story rolled into one and its message of change and redemption is a powerful one. A tour de force by the ever excellent Neil Jordan
on 2 March 2012
Neil Jordan's film The Crying Game is a thriller about the redeeming power of love. The IRA kidnap a man (Forest Whitaker in one of his first major roles). They hold him for ransom but it is not paid so they end up having to kill him. The twist is that a kidnapper called Jimmy makes friends with the kidnapped man.
The victim asks a favour of his friend that after he is killed that Jimmy will go and see his girlfriend and see that she is okay. Jimmy goes, and falls in love with her, but there is another twist that changes everything. The film touches on many subjects such as redemption and homosexuality. It is also about how love can heal almost any situation.
The Crying Game is many things, funny, sad, scary, brutal, beautiful and all these add up to make this a terrific thriller.
on 24 August 2015
Picked this up in the Amazon market place, and twenty plus years on it's still a great watch. For anyone that's never seen it, it would be cruel to let slip, pardon the pun, the major talking point in the film as the love interest develops!! It contains a wide range of emotion, humour and great acting in a story about the Irish Republican mainland campaign in England.
on 28 August 2009
Irish filmmaker and novelist Neil Jordan bounced back from a string of box-office flops with this unconventional romantic thriller that bombed in Britain in part because of its sympathetic portrayal of Irish terrorists but went great guns in the U.S. where it won him the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.
Stephen Rea puts in a powerful and sympathetic lead performance with able support from the magnificent Miranda Richardson alongside a roll call of British stalwarts that includes Adrian Dunbar, Jim Broadbent, Ralph Brown and Tony Slattery as well as a curiously miscast Forest Whitaker and an uncastable Jaye Davidson.
The film maker's commitment eventually paid off with the film and it's shock twist becoming an established part of pop culture through numerous references but the shoestring budget and turbulent production process shows on screen with a lack of pace and continuity that prevents this from being a true classic.
Who knows the secrets of the human heart?
on 1 March 2015
I bought this for as a birthday gift for someone who really enjoyed this film when it originally came out in the cinema. This was a special edition disc and definitely well worth the price - always a bargain with Amazon. Forest Whitaker is brilliant.