Review: THE CRYING GAME (1992) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Review: THE CRYING GAME (1992)


Most of the audiences probably never realized how come THE CRYING GAME is such among critics’ darling of the year. It’s the old wash that makes all its compelling whole – love conquers all.

Fergus (Stephen Rea) is an IRA foot soldier, who also part of a small group led by ferocious idealogues Jude (Miranda Richardson) and Maguire (Adrian Dunbar). They kidnap a British soldier, Jody (Forest Whitaker), in Northern Ireland and attempt to exchange him for a group of imprisoned IRA members. As the tense and exhausted comrades take turns guarding Jody, an unexpected friendship forms between Fergus and the frightened captive. Realizing of his colleagues’ growing contempt for what they perceive to be a weakness on his part, Fergus pointedly accepts the task of killing their captive when it becomes obvious that British officials will not negotiates with their demands. As Fergus marches Jody into the woods at gunpoint, the prisoner gets away, only to get accidentally run over by a British armored car. Fergus escapes, leaving Maguire and Jude trapped in a hail of gunfire. Fergus flees Ireland and lay low into London’s underground of undocumented Irish workers. Haunted by the memory of Jody, he seeks up the dead man’s lover, Dil (Jaye Davidson). Dil is undeniably seductive at first sight and yet desperately needy the first time Fergus encountering her and immediately has himself bewitched. However Fergus is tormented by his murky past and, as their relationship grows ever more intimate, tortured by the fact that he has an entire other life of which she is unaware. Still, it turns out to be Fergus who’s in for the biggest shock of his life, when he learns Dil has an even more surprising secret. Soon things are further complicated by the unexpected re-appearance of Jude and Maguire, who insist Fergus help them with one last assassination.

THE CRYING GAME is most remembered of how such “controversial” subject matter turns out unexpectedly as a commercial box-office success (a rare case of such movies often resulted as box-office poison). Thanks to the clever marketing campaign that ultimately lures mainstream viewers to flock to watch this movie, THE CRYING GAME is utterly remarkable and brutally honest. Unlike conventional Hollywood romance that has been sugarcoated and laces them with sappy sentimentality, writer-director Neil Jordan hardly straying for the easy way out. Instead, the movie presents Dil and Fergus with a real dilemma, placing their murky situation as painful as possible. Although the revelation of Dil and Fergus’s intimate relationship raises eyebrow, Jordan’s thematic value of “the power of love” is paving such dramatic approach you will immediately feel the painful truth shared by both lovers. 

The other great thing about this movie is how Jordan manages to pull off an obvious technical feat the way of his screenplay that contains two wrenching twists. At a considerable length of not more than two hours long, it’s rather surprising to see Jordan is hardly letting the two story slipping one after another. At the beginning, viewers are introduced to the story of Fergus’s growing friendship with the captive and doomed Jody and then their friendship cut short when Jody dies barely a third of the way into the film. The second one leads Fergus’s relationship with Dil which begins in conventional level until the moment of revelation. From here is where Jordan nails the subject matter going straight along. He keeps the disturbing revelation going patiently, developing them to see how are they going to end up.

Nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture (lost to UNFORGIVEN), Best Director (lost to Clint Eastwood for UNFORGIVEN), Best Actor – Stephen Rea (lost to Al Pacino for SCENT OF A WOMAN ) and Best Supporting Actor – Jaye Davidson (lost to Gene Hackman for UNFORGIVEN), the movie only swept for Best Original Screenplay.

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