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“The Crying Game”: Neil Jordan’;s landmark movie

Sthephen Rea trying to solve the mystery of Dill.

The “Crying Game”, made in 1992, is generally recognized as the most important work of Neil Jordan, but also a movie feature point of 90s cinema. Subversive, unpredictable and avant-garde, Jordan’s film created an unprecedented wave of cinematic debates and confrontations. The “Crying Game”, 26 years after its first screening, continues to challenge every viewer to analyze it, exploring in depth the complex themes he discusses.

The “Crying Game” at a Glance

A British soldier (Forrest Whitaker) is being kidnapped by a group of IRA terrorists. During his hostage, and while his performance is given, he develops a peculiar friendship with his future performer, Fergus (Stephen Rea). After the tragic end of the hostage, Fergus changes identity and looks for the dead soldier’s mistress. And while a particular romance develops between them, Fergus will face unexpected revelations, but also with his own past.

Homer and Powers shortly before tragic developments … The frog and the scorpion

The “Crying Game” is divided into two parts. In the first part, the center of gravity of the plot is located in the peculiar friendship of Fergus with the captive British soldier. In the second, the thematic axis of history is completely shifted, overturning every prediction of the public about the evolution of the plot.

The prisoner-prison relationship has a particular cinematic and meaningful value. Beyond the fact that Whitaker’s chemistry with Rea creates an emblematic film couple, their relationship, though brief and short-lived, will be fatal, ironic and tragic for both the heroes themselves and the third and a decisive face of the story that will make its appearance in the second part of the film.

In one context, sometimes marvelously funny and once deeply macabre, the two heroes develop a personal and existential touch. Cinematically, this relationship culminates in the narrative of the folk tale of “frogs and scorpions” by Whitaker. A story that, besides its symbolic value, is a tribute to Orson Welles’ Mr Arkadin, as the same parody is heard there.

Shortly before the hatred strikes and the young soldier loses his life tragically, he chooses to show Fergus a photograph of his beloved, asking him to grace to meet her and take care after his death. This photo will also be the transition to the second part of the film. When, now, Fergus changes name to escape the IRA and chooses to look for the girl of photography …

Dill’s first appearance singing the famous Crying Game «I’ve got my share of the Crying Game»

The second half of the film begins with Fergus looking for the girl in a fringe bar. Dill’s first appearance takes place under the sounds of the homonym with the title of the song “Crying Game”. A song melancholic and romantic, just like the film itself.

Somewhere there begins an idyllic love story. A love story that will bring together two heroes persecuted, injured, guilty, and afraid. Jordan, rooted in this romance, is inventively trying to “play” with multifaceted and complex themes. The quirkiness of Fergus’s relationship with Dill is not only found in the sexual identity of the latter. On the contrary, one would say that this revelation misleads the viewer.

In fact, the central axis of the “Crying Game” is the internal conflict between the heroes between their sexual, political and social identity. The existential wandering of both Fergus and Dill inevitably brings to mind the “Hitcock” perspective that explores the concept of “identity” in the light of psychoanalysis.

So in the “Crying Game”, the relationship between Fergus’s sexual identity and the re-emergence of an old love in the face of exceptional Miranda Richardson, Dill’s disguise just before the finale and the subversive climax in the end, Jordan to faithfully follow the recipe of “Divine Alfred”.

The masterful “games” of Neil Jordan

Despite Jordan’s “Crying Game” with many cinematic references, the nature of the film remains distinct. Jordan proves to be a measure of aesthetics and atmosphere. It features scenes of extraordinary and wild charm that still remain classical, and some scenario finds the magnitude of its cinematic intelligence.

All you have to do is look at the scenes unfolding in the dark and turbid bar of Dill’s bar. A place where margin and frustration meet hope and expectation. The presence of the barman in a small but memorable role is also unquestionable.

Equally convincing is Jordan’s approach to the noir side of the “Crying Game”. In fact, he proved to be a worthy operator of suspense and anxiety both in the excellent first scene of capture and in the fatal and moving pursuit of Whitaker by Rea.

The past hits the door again … Couscous…

Apart from the film’s analysis, it is worth mentioning some information about its creation. Great interest, therefore, is the paradigm that led Jordan to the title of his film. More specifically, the British director wanted to give the title “Soldier’s wife”. A title, which, after all, seems indifferent.

What was it that led Jordan to “Crying Game”. Of course, his good friend Stanley Kubrick, who taught him that military titles are not convincing. That’s how the Crying Game, which is of course infinitely seductive, but also more “commercial” due to the homonymous song.

Finally, a funny event stands out, which is better not to be read by those who have not seen the movie. When, during filming, Jaye Davidson, who plays Dill, felt an ailment, anxious all the production rushed to call doctors to look at him. A doctor, ignoring the Jaye leaf, wondered if it was a pregnant event that caused the laughter of all attendees …

Epilogue…

After the above Crying Game analysis, the final conclusion is as follows: Even almost three decades after its release, Neil Jordan’s film continues to invite you to study and explore it. And whatever conclusions one can draw on the film, the deep inner dynamics of this film can always inspire your interest, as many times as you watch it!

Ralph Glover

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