Ireland/U.K., 1992, 111 min, Digital, Dir. Neil Jordan, Rated R, Park Circus
"One of a very few films that wants to do something unexpected and challenging, and succeeds, even beyond its ambitions." – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
The shock sleeper hit to top them all is back for its 25th anniversary as one of the most successful non-genre independent movies of all time. What makes the occasion specially felicitous is to discover that novelist / director Neil Jordan's film was actually 25 years ahead of its time. A British soldier (Forrest Whitaker) is kidnapped by the IRA and is guarded by a team including Fergus (Stephen Rea), a committed terrorist. The soldier may be executed if the British government doesn't release IRA prisoners and so he asks Fergus to look up his girlfriend back in London, if, as the soldier suspects, he is going to die soon. The Crying Game contains a narrative daring that promotes human empathy and a redemptive sense of tolerance, destroying narrow-minded notions of sexuality, race, and politics. Perceptions of the film have suggested it hinges on a mid-film shift comparable to those in Hitchcock's Vertigo and Psycho, whereas only with repeated viewings does director Jordan's bold, nonconformist Oscar-winning screenplay reveal its many rewards beyond the twist. As unlikely a love story as ever told, you'd be wise to heed Jay Boyar's sage advice in The Orlando Sentinel: "The film must be discovered as it unfolds: If anyone starts to tell you about it, hit him."