The Crying Game (1992)

"Some movies keep you guessing. Some movies make you care. Once in a long while a movie comes along that does both things at the same time. It's not easy."
Film opens at a Belfast carnival, where British soldier Jody (Forest Whitaker) is lured away by an Irish woman, Jude (Miranda Richardson), and kidnapped by the IRA. Held hostage as the IRA negotiates for an exchange of prisoners with the RUC, Jody makes friends with his captor.
 When their deadline comes to pass, Fergus’ superior, Maguire (Adrian Dunbar), orders him to lead Jody into the woods; as he does, the prisoner begins to run and Fergus cannot shoot him in the back. Fergus finds himself running with Jody to escape. 
Fergus escapes to London, where he's wanted by the law for Jody's kidnapping and also by his former girlfriend, IRA operative Jude (Miranda Richardson), who thinks he knows too much to fall into the hands of the British authorities. 

Warning: This is the kind of movie that inspires enthusiastic discussions afterward. People want to talk about it. Don't let them talk to you. "The Crying Game" needs to be seen with as close to an open mind as possible, and anyone who tells you too much about the film is not doing you a favor. I would prefer, in fact, that you put this review aside until you see the film. If you read on, I will do my best not to spoil your own discoveries.

The peculiar thing about "The Crying Game" is that this story outline, while true, hardly suggests the actual content of this film.
Neil Jordan's daring film, The Crying Game, is hard to label or describe, because it doesn't readily conform to any recognizable genre. The movie successfully blends conventions of a Hitchcockian suspense  film, sexual thriller, and political drama. But the miracle about Jordan's work is that despite numerous twists and turns, it still registers as a highly coherent and elegant movie, one that probes human relationships much deeper than any American film in recent years.
From the very first image, a traveling shot of what seems to be two lovers, a white woman named Jude (Miranda Richardson), and a black British soldier named Jody, (Forest Whitaker) in an amusement park, writer-director Jordan builds psychological tension that continues up to the very end of his taut narrative. Indeed, it turns out they are false lovers: Richardson is actually an I.R.A. agent who sets up a trap for Jody as a hostage. 

The Crying Game is a complex tale of the intricate effects of sex, gender, race, and politics on our identities and interactions. The beauty of the film is that it shows how these powerful factors serve as masks that once removed, strip us to a level of humanity that is at once frightening (because of its vulnerability) and exhilarating. 
With all its bleak, pessimistic beginning, the movie's last shot of two unlikely lovers communicating through the glass partition of a London prison, makes The Crying Game one of the most riveting and hopeful films I have seen in years.

Popular Posts