The Crying Game

(Neil Jordan, UK, 1992)


I am often entertained by the censorship description on the cover of videos that warns of ‘Adult Themes’. Although I will remain silent about the narrative secret that is at the heart of The Crying Game – for anyone left in the world who doesn’t already know it – I think it is pretty fair to describe it as an adult theme.

When writer-director Neil Jordan (Mona Lisa, 1986) made his debut film Angel in 1982 (aka in videoland as Wasted Angel), he was sharply criticised for turning the troubles of Irish politics into a merely thrilling backdrop for an inward looking, character-driven drama.

He’s at it again in The Crying Game with the same star, Stephen Rea, playing an IRA terrorist who is drawn reluctantly into the legacy left by an abducted British soldier (Forest Whitaker).

Jordan’s obsessive theme is identity confusion – especially of the sexual variety. His movies resemble those of André Téchiné (I Don’t Kiss, 1991), where characters are inexorably involved in perverse, murderous triangles, and undergo complete personality changes in the process.

The Crying Game is an intriguing ride, but is weakened by an unambiguous femme fatale figure (played chillingly by Miranda Richardson), and by a reluctance to follow its tantalisingly radical themes all the way to their logical end.

MORE Jordan: The Butcher Boy, In Dreams, Michael Collins, Greta, The Company of Wolves

© Adrian Martin November 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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