Crying Game, The (United Kingdom, 1992)

A movie review by James Berardinelli

The Crying Game, the creation of Irish director/writer Neil Jordan, loosely fits into the category of a "thriller", although to saddle it with such a label is perhaps to do it a great injustice, since this immediately causes images of the Die Hard series to spring to mind, and it would be hard to imagine two movies more dissimilar than Die Hard and The Crying Game.

Jordan has managed to find another dimension to the thriller, giving us not only the requisite tension and action, but a healthy -- and heavy -- dose of drama as well. As is typical for non-mainstream films, The Crying Game demands the audience's attention and moves at its own pace, never knuckling under to the pressure of its "genre". Some might complain that the first portion of the movie, where British army officer Jody (Forest Whitaker) is held prisoner by Fergus (Stephen Rea) and his IRA cronies (including Miranda Richardson and Adrian Dunbar), is too long. If you're waiting for something explosive to happen, that may be the case, but if you're absorbing the meticulous and subtle character interaction, the pacing is perfect.

There's excitement and gunplay in The Crying Game, but those things are almost incidental to the themes that the movie explores. The two most basic (and potent) deal with the nature of the individual and the meaning of love. These are not subjects lightly glossed over or simply paid lip service. They are examined in some detail and few will leave the theaters without considering the questions that Neil Jordan's characters are grappling with.

As is often the case with European films, the acting is superlative. Stephen Rea, a name not well known to American audiences, is rock-solid throughout, giving the audience a character that we can relate to and sympathize with. Forest Whitaker, the only American in the film, is credible as Jodi, and he has surprisingly little trouble with a British accent. Miranda Richardson (last seen in Enchanted April) and Adrian Dunbar (Hear My Song) are strong in supporting roles. The real standout, however, is newcomer Jaye Davidson, whose performance is, without exaggeration, stunning.

The Crying Game is not to be missed. The script isn't especially convoluted or filled with twists and turns, but the less said the better. The film contains one surprise revelation that is central to The Crying Game's resolution. Regardless of what is known -- or not known -- about plot details, however, the movie will still reward its viewers with a thought-provoking, superbly-rendered one-hundred ten minutes.

Crying Game, The (United Kingdom, 1992)

Director: Neil Jordan
Cast: Stephen Rea, Jaye Davidson, Forest Whitaker, Miranda Richardson, Adrian Dunbar
Screenplay: Neil Jordan
Cinematography: Ian Wilson
Music: Anne Dudley
U.S. Distributor: Miramax Films
Run Time: 1:50
U.S. Release Date: 1992-11-25
MPAA Rating: "R" (Violence, Profanity, Sexual Situations, Nudity)
Subtitles: none
Theatrical Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1