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DVD/Blu-ray: The Crying Game | reviews, news & interviews

DVD/Blu-ray: The Crying Game

DVD/Blu-ray: The Crying Game

Neil Jordan's film noir set against the backdrop of the Troubles is still powerful after 25 years

The enigmatic Jaye Davidson, contemplated by Stephen Rea

Does a review of a 25-year-old film need a spoiler alert? Much of the success of The Crying Game – its 1992 release earned both six Oscar nominations and huge box office returns (although not enough to save its producers from bankruptcy) – is due to its mid-narrative revelation that one of its central characters is not quite as they first appeared.

The story centres on the Troubles in Northern Ireland, with Miranda Richardson as an icy IRA operative. She seduces a British soldier, Jody (Forest Whitaker, superb despite struggling with a British accent), who is then held prisoner at a run-down farmhouse. Adrian Dunbar makes it clear that Jody is now a disposable hostage for a prisoner exchange. Jody is determined to survive and works on the one guard who seems to have a conscience, Fergus (the ever mournful Stephen Rea). Jody shares a photo of his sweetheart, Dil (Jaye Davidson, making an impressive debut) in London and asks Fergus to go and check on Dil if he dies.

The scene switches to London and a risqué nightclub as the film evolves from IRA drama into a noir tale of thwarted love and divided loyalties. Boy George's rendition of the title song is still a thing of loveliness, and there's good character work by Jim Broadbent and Tony Slattery. Jaye Davidson has a lightness of touch and a humour which is wholly charming. It's a shame that success came too late to rescue the fortunes of the film's recklessly ambitious producers. It's also sad that Neil Jordan has never made another film as good again. 

This was always a handsomely acted film, and its visceral action scenes, combined with ones of quieter revelation, have stood up remarkably well. The Crying Game’s restoration and re-release by the BFI is very welcome, although the extras are not terribly exciting. The 50-minute making-of documentary is pedestrianly shot and edited, with the contributions from the filmmakers being overly familiar, but the last ten minutes includes interesting interviews with former IRA members on the film’s historic credibility. It’s a small treat to see the discarded alternative ending and there’s a worthy booklet with film-theory essays on gender, race and Northern Ireland history. 

The film switches from IRA drama into a noir tale of thwarted love and divided loyalties

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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