Yesterday, this column reviewed “The King’s Speech,” an Oscar winning film that focused on late 1930s England. The challenges faced by the characters were all exacerbated by the knowledge that war with Germany was looming. Another movie set in England that reinforces the way in which political conflict intensifies all other dilemmas is “The Crying Game,” from 1992. Like “The King’s Speech,” it was popular during the Academy Award season.
Several decades after World War II, the most significant political conflict faced by the British Isles was what was known as “the Troubles” between northern and southern Ireland. “The Crying Game” begins with several members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) abducting a British soldier, Jody (played by Forest Whitaker). In spite of his affiliation with the north, one of the IRA members, Fergus (played by Stephen Rea), befriends Jody. Knowing they might have to kill their hostage, they warn Fergus to keep his distance, which he ultimately does not do. As they get to know each other, Fergus learns about Jody’s girlfriend, Dil (played by Jaye Davidson). Jody does eventually die, and troops find the IRA members. Fergus escapes and goes to London, where he meets Dil. They hit it off, but as their relationship progresses, he is shocked to discover that Dil is transgender.
“The Crying Game” has a provocative script by the director, Neil Jordan. It is unpredictable and has a lot of suspense. Jordan won an Academy Award for his screenplay.
The cast is dynamic. Stephen Rea is perfect as Fergus, who respects Jody and is depressed when he dies. His performance earned an Oscar nomination. Also Oscar nominated is Jaye Davidson. Rea and Davidson have great chemistry. Another impressive performance is by Miranda Richardson, who plays one of the IRA members.
“The Crying Game” is well-worth seeing for its original story and memorable performances.