The Crying Game (1992) (R)
When "The Crying Game" opens, it's to Forest Whitaker who I've never really been a fan of. He's great in supporting roles but I've never seen him pull off a lead, then again I haven't seen "The Last King of Scotland" so I can't judge. I know that Whitaker is American so to hear him start the movie with an English accent that is so thick in some parts and disappears in others wasn't the best beginning.
An English soldier is kidnapped by the IRA at the beginning of "The Crying Game". The man's name is Jody and he is being held hostage until demands are met, the ultimatum being "or else we kill him". He knows that he's a dead man as soon as he's taken but that doesn't stop him from trying to reason with some of the guards, one in particular, a man named Fergus.
Fergus seems like an average guy, he's mixed up with the wrong crowd but he's loyal to it, maybe not as zealous as they are but still committed. He talks with Jody and the two of them bond a little.
This isn't a full fledged bromance but it's a start. They laugh and Jody tells Fergus the story of the scorpion of the frog which is a fable about people giving in to their nature.
Eventually, as the audience has guessed by now, Fergus is going to have to kill Jody. When the time comes for it to happen a remarkable scene happens. Jody is in the corner with a bag over his head and he's crying. Fergus asks him to stop and Jody pleads for Fergus to tell him a story—anything to get his mind off of his looming death. Fergus pauses and then quotes from Corinthians "When I was a child, I thought like a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things." He paraphrases a little but the scene resonated within me. What was the point of that?
Still after the movie is over, that scene stuck with me, and it's at the very beginning. I think that it stuck with me because it symbolizes what the movie is about. It's not a child's world anymore and adult decisions have to be made. That's obviously crasser than what is played out but it's the idea behind it.
Before Jody is killed he asks Fergus to find this girl named Dil and look after her, tell her that he was thinking about her in his final seconds.
So Fergus takes it upon himself to find this Dil woman and let her know what Jody was thinking about...that's the excuse he gives himself. He's really after forgiveness.
"The Crying Game" is a fearless movie, bravely tackling subjects that were way ahead of its time. It's style and method are simplistic, although the movie utilizes some camera angles that maneuver the set pieces more than once.
Stephen Rea is Fergus and it's his journey that we share. We come to see the world through his eyes, although the ending didn't make sense to me, but he's really great in this role that grows and morphs.
Forest Whitaker isn't that great in this movie, I don't know if I was just prejudiced against him.
There are moments that reflect greatness, they reminded me of scenes from "Taxi Driver" although not as visceral or poetic.
Neil Jordan, the writer/director, pulls of a good setting for this movie. The opening credits themselves are equal parts interesting and haunting, a shot of a carnival gradually shifts as "When a Man Loves a Woman" is playing.
The bravest acting besides Rea's role belongs to Jaye Davidson who isn't perfect but is tenacious.
"The Crying Game" is solid, there's nothing special about it but it is well-crafted and executed.
Score: 3 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones