The Crying Game | Chicago Reader

The Crying Game

An adroit piece of storytelling (1992) from Irish writer-director Neil Jordan (Mona Lisa, The Miracle) that's ultimately less challenging to conventional notions about race and sexuality than it may at first seem. Like other Jordan features, this one centers on an impossible love relationship, and the covert agenda of the plot is to keep it impossible by any means necessary. Literary critic Leslie Fiedler's theories about the concealed and unconsummated lust of the white male for the nonwhite male in such American classics as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Moby-Dick seem oddly relevant to certain aspects of this tale about an IRA volunteer (Stephen Rea) who assists in the kidnapping of a black British soldier (Forest Whitaker) and subsequently becomes involved with the soldier's mulatto lover (Jaye Davidson). The plot, held in place by a parable about a scorpion and a frog filched from Orson Welles's Mr. Arkadin, features a startling twist about halfway through; among the cleverly concealed safety nets that hold the conceits in place is an implied misogyny that only becomes evident once the story is nearly over. Still, this thriller gives you an entertaining run for your money and some offbeat frissons along the way. With Miranda Richardson (somewhat limited here by a narrowly conceived part) and Jim Broadbent (the father in Life Is Sweet); the three leads are first-rate.

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