The Crying Game (1992)
Critic Consensus: The Crying Game is famous for its shocking twist, but this thoughtful, haunting mystery grips the viewer from start to finish.
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Critic Reviews for The Crying Game
Suspenseful and emotionally complex, skillfully mixing politics with affairs of the heart, The Crying Game is something unexpected, a challenging new way to tell a very old story.
Seeing the film twice reveals two completely different viewer perspectives -- a kind of "before and after" syndrome -- and like any good film The Crying Game grows richer as it sinks into your thoughts.
This film must be discovered as it unfolds: If anyone starts to tell you about it, hit him.
Its components are built upon deception and forgiveness, misconnections and misunderstandings, sexual jealousy and moral ambivalence, trust and loyalty, desperation and loneliness. It is also, not incidentally, a crackling good movie.
Audience Reviews for The Crying Game
Mostly known for "the big reveal," which is kind of a shame, since there are quite a few different intriguing elements in Neil Jordan's mediation on sexual politics. Also, is there a more quietly effective actor than Stephen Rea? Not many other actors can be both understated and powerful the way he can.
Two different things fused together that you wouldn't think would fit make a film that evokes the troublesome violence of war, the bonds of friendship which cannot be diminished by political loyalties, and the nuanced differences of love and sex. The political atmosphere of the film plagues it in the beginning, throwing in an undertone of revolution and an honest look at the IRA's contribution to wartime travesties, and the bloodshed they must inflict and endure to win out. Though this makes up a huge chunk of the first part of this film it's not the predominant theme. It's more of a complex yet convenient plot device to satisfy the need to give the main character a great dollop of guilt, enough to fuel the rest of the plot. The main reason it's set where it is and holds the weight of political intrigue and rebellion is because it was written and directed by native Neil Jordan. It's a universal story that could have been put in multiple times of war or revolution and been just as interesting. It's the sordid time of the nineties that made this film a sleeper hit and jacked up its box office total. Besides that there is also a big reveal in the plot which changes the tone of the film and shocked a lot of audiences who made this film famous through word of mouth. The film itself is not as shocking by the standards of the times we live in. This was in part a story about love triumphing over the intense reflections of Irish extremist society and also the world view of sexuality and gender roles. Maybe that's being too general a message or meaning for this complex look at several mainstream issues. None of them are directly addressed or explored to its fullest capacity, so I have to look at this film solely for its story. In all, nothing was too over the top, offensive, or revealing about the state of the world's affairs, but it was an interesting and topsy-turvy view of the bonds between people. Most of all the film is about Fergus (Rea), his guilt at the fate of Jody, and his ensuing want to protect his girlfriend, who he subsequently protects in lieu of Jody. The plot itself was collectively successful in showing Fergus through every stage of his denial and acceptance of the circumstances. In the end he ultimately sacrifices everything to clear a murky conscious, and if this is the true point of the film it's undoubtedly the most powerful part.
A well-constructed though massively over-rated thriller about an IRA "volunteer" (Stephen Rea) who starts a relationship with a striking female (Jaye Davidson) who is the girlfriend of a hostage (Forest Whitaker) he once looked over and shared a special bond with. It gets major brownie points for its twist (which, even if you see it coming, like me, it still is executed terrifically), as well as the simply superb performances leading the way (both Rea and Davidson knock the ball out of the park in their respected turns). However, it takes a while to get going, and some of the plot does not make total since (why the IRA wants Rea back to do that "one last job" - seems cliche). However, still a very watchable film, thanks to the chemistry between Rea and Davidson, as well as its clever take on human sexuality and what loving a person is all about, even if they aren't what you think.
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