Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Crying Game

The Crying Game"When I was a child I thought as a child, when I became a man I gave up childish things." The words of the captive(Stephen Rea) to his prisoner(Forrest Wittikar) the night before he has to shoot him. He has (unwisely) formed a human bond with his prisoner, and its easy to see way, because Jodi as played by Whittikar is a lovable, open hearted and kind man. Even though he is only in the movie for 20 about minutes, Whittikars performance haunts the rest of the film, we come to understand more of his character once we meet the love of his life he left behind, Dill(Jaye Davidson). Caught between the two is Stephen Rea's Fergues, who with those soulful heart broken eyes of his, discovers the gift and troubles Jodi has left him by telling him about his girlfriend. When Dill sings the crying game in the pub, we can feel real pain in "I know all there is to know about the crying game" because she like Fergues (who's lost his faith in the cause he's fighting for)and Jodi are very lonely people. This is a truly beautiful and original film, its tone is rather sad because Fergues's past will defintely come back to claim him and we know this, but it deserves to be owned not just watched because like the best of movies its impact is not lessened on repeated viewings. Jodi's character gains that much more poignance once we know about Dill, therefore when you watch the movie again, the opening scenes are that much more powerful. Finally I have to mention the great muusical score and an unforgettable story told by Jodi and then by Fergues about the frog and the scorpion that bookends the film. The Crying Game is a great film.

International customers, please note: this is the version for Puritans, with Jaye Davidson's naughty bits blacked out. As a result, one pivotal scene loses 90% of its punch. Also, on the technical side, there are compression and NTSC artefacts galore, especially in the opening shot. (The film itself rates 5 stars.)

Buy The Crying Game Now

Still an amazing film over a decade later, The Crying Game continues to resonate with power due to its themes of obsession and redemption. Jordan's film plays tricks with its twisting plot structure and change in tone similar to its inspiration Vertigo. Stephen Rea plays Fergus a gunman for the IRA who helps take a soldier named Jody (Forest Whittaker) hostage. They plan on trading him for a senior member of the IRA being taken by the British. Fergus later becomes obsessed with Jody's girlfriend Dil (Jay Davidson) a hairdresser by day who performs in a bar in the evenings lip synching her favorite songs. Fergus begins to fall in love with Dil. Is it guilt that drives him into her arms? He's not sure. Suddenly, Fergus and Jude are thrust into the middle of the conflict between the IRA and the British. Fergus gets sucked into Jody's life and becomes obssessed with helping Dil and seeing more about the life of the man he kidnapped.

The plot is far more complex than the synopsis I've given. If you haven't seen the film (or heard about it), do yourself a favor to read as little about the plot as possible. While the surprises in the plot don't define the film's quality, they do involve the viewer in the story. So keep it simple and just rent the movie (or buy it if you've seen it before). With strong performances from Rea as the world weary Fergus, Richardson as the aggressive and hateful Jude, Whitaker as Jody and Davidson as Dil, The Crying Game demonstrates Jordan's uncanny skills as a storyteller and film director. The fact that it wasn't recognized with only an Oscar for writing is a crime considering what was released the same year.

With a crisp, clear image The Crying Game looks particularly good in this DVD transfer. The bright colors and grainy textures of the original film are well reproduced. Although the darker sequences of the film occasionally look a bit murky, the transfer looks exceptionally good overall. The 5.1 surround sound mix and 2.0 mix both have great presence.

We get the originally shot ending of the film which differs substantially from the final version. The BBC's Channel 4 originally agreed to back the film but only if Jordan would write and shoot a different ending from the final version (the one that's seen in the film is the original version as written). This version is included from a VHS rough assembly of the film so doesn't have the best picture quality but does provide an idea of what the film might have looked like. Northern Troubles is a documentary looking at Ireland from two different view points; an Irish Catholic and Protestant Loyalist who drove the filmmakers around to interview people about the making of the film. Interestingly, it provides considerable insight into the current and past political troubles of this beautiful country. Images of violence and conflict appear everywhere throughout the landscape. The Making of The Crying Game bundles together a number of featurettes to produce a documentary that provides a comprehensive look at the film's production. Featuring Stephen Rea, Neil Jordan and many of the principle production members, it can be viewed in one sitting or watched as individual featurettes. Stephen Wooley the producer of the film discusses the nasty reception that the film received at Cannes by American distributors.

There's also a discussion of Miramax's part in effectively marketing a very difficult film to an audience used to popcorn thrillers. Wooley discusses the press reception and how Miramax used this for a brilliant marketing campaign that captured the attention of audiences but also focusing encouraging viewers to not discuss the "secret" of the film. We also get the original trailer and a featurette on Madame Jojo's today.

Neil Jordan provides a comprehensive commentary track focusing on the visual images that inspired the story including the places from his childhood that showed up in the film. Jordan also discusses the twists in the plot so, by all means, watch the film prior to listening to it with the commentary track.

Lion's Gate has done a great job of updating and upgrading this terrific film for DVD. The previous version looked very good as well but the image quality in this anamorphic transfer gives it the edge. The inclusion of a commentary track, documentary and featurettes gives viewers an idea of the world that The Crying Game occurs in. The crisp, sharp image quality and overall transfer looks exceptionally good as well making this essential for fans of the movie.

Read Best Reviews of The Crying Game Here

This is an outstanding and unusual film with a melange of issues. Forest Whitaker, Stephen Rea, and Jaye Davidson all give compelling and moving performances. Miranda Richardson also gives an absorbing performance as a hard nosed IRA terrorist.

The movie begins with IRA terrorists capturing a British soldier named Jodi, affectingly played by Forest Whitaker. One of the erstwhile terrorists, Fergus, sensitively played by Stephen Rea, is on the fringes of the terrorist group and assigned to guard the hapless Jodi. As they spend time together, a curious bond begins to form. Jodi, knowing that he will ultimately be executed, shows Fergus a photograph of his girlfriend, Dil, and extracts a promise from Fergus that he would let Dil know that Jodi was thinking of her at the last. Fergus reluctantly agrees.

When Fergus is finally ordered by his hard nosed IRA associates to shoot Jodi, he hesitates, and Jodi takes off running. Not wanting to shoot him in the back, Jodi manages to make it to a main roadway, where he is run over by a truck and killed. Fergus then deserts his terrorist buddies and goes to make good on his promise to Jodi.

When Fergus finds Dil, poignantly played by Jaye Davidson, she is working in a club and singing "The Crying Game". Fergus gives her a false name and insinuates himself into her graces, as there is a palpable attraction. They begin meeting, going out, and falling in love. Then, the moment of truth ultimately arrives, and Jodi is surely having the last laugh from the great beyond

Just when the viewer thiks that things cannot get any stranger, Miranda Richardson turns up, demanding that Fergus perform another act of terrorism in order to redeem himself for having failed so badly during his last foray into terrorism. To ensure his compliance, Richardson implies that Dil may be a target, should he not cooperate with the new scheme.

Fergus reluctantly agrees to participate in the IRA plot and commits himself to what is, in essence, a suicide mission. Dil, however, interferes with his plan at the eleventh hour, putting both herself and Fergus in danger of a retaliatory attack from Fergus' IRA buddies.

After his plan goes awry, all hell breaks loose. Suffice to say, true love does seem to conquer all. This is one terrific and unusual movie.

Want The Crying Game Discount?

This DVD is EXACTLY the same as The Crying Game DVD (Collector's Edition) released in 2005. They only changed the slip cover. The only BIG difference is the price. The Collector's Edition 2005 release DVD sells for around $20, while the 2012 release only sells for around $5, BUT, I repeat: They are the same exact DVD, no difference at all except for the slip cover.

Save yourself the heartache by saving yourself some money Buy the recently 2012 release for a much lower price.

Here are the DVD contents (aside from the feature film):

Special Features -

The Making of The Crying Game: Irish Luck, English Love, The Marketing of an American Independent & Discussing The Crying Game

Alternate Ending


Modern Day at Madame JoJo's

Northern Troubles featurette

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