11 March 2017



Any film where Irish heart-throb Stephen Rea gets to handle American acting legend Forest Whittaker's willy is going to be worth watching. THE CRYING GAME is one of the most electrifying films to come out of Ireland since, well, I don't know when.

It's the film with the big twist in it that probably everyone knows by this stage but I'm still not going to give it away. I'm not going to even touch on it, haha. But this famous twist has been discussed by all and sundry since the film was released, including the two old biddies from Craggy Island in the episode of clerical sitcom FATHER TED about the banned 'fillum.'

Remember the 'fillum?' 'Careful now' and 'Down with that sort of thing' and all that jazz. Very funny episode, that was. People were coming from far and wide to see the 'fillum.' They were even coming from Gdansk to see the 'fillum,' if you can credit it, and it was all Ted and Dougal's doing, much to Bishop Brennan's disgust.

Anyway, back to THE CRYING GAME. It's such a brilliant story, told in two distinct halves. The first half takes place in Belfast in Northern Ireland in the 'Eighties. Forest Whittaker, that big handsome man-mountain of a fella, plays Jody, a British soldier who gets himself kidnapped by the IRA one fateful day. 

They're holding him hostage with the intention of swapping him for one of their own lads who's being held and questioned elsewhere. If they don't get their man back in three days, they'll shoot Jody.

Curly-haired Irish dreamboat Stephen Rea is Fergus, the IRA man who's guarding Jody, and Miranda Richardson (BLACKADDER, HARRY POTTER, DANCE WITH A STRANGER, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, etc.) is his colleague Jude and, incidentally, the bait who lured poor Jody to his fate. 

Famous Irish actor Adrian Dunbar is their immediate boss, Peter, a real tough guy who doesn't approve of the way that Jody and Fergus seem to be bonding over their joint experience.

That's because Fergus is a good guy at heart and not a natural-born-killer like his co-workers. Jody senses this and works on it cleverly. Bond with your abductor, isn't that what they say? Once he's put a human face on you, as it were, he can't kill you. Well, that's the idea, anyway.

During one of their chats, Jody tells Fergus to go to London and look up his best gal Dil, a real looker despite the decidedly odd name. Dill's a pickle, innit? Well, poor wee Fergus, who's no more 'Scottish' than my cat (if I had one), finds himself in a real 'dilly' of a pickle once he meets this Dil...

The second half of the film takes place in London. Fergus has become Jimmy, an innocuous builder who becomes more and more entangled with the ravishing, street-smart Dil every time he meets her in The Metro, the pub run by brilliant British sctor Jim Broadbent's character Col. But he's biting off more than he can chew with Dil. You can't even imagine what he's biting off when it comes to Dil...

The film is part political thriller, part an unlikely love story. Dil's life is extremely sad and riddled with insecurities, to my mind. I always feel desperately sorry for her when I watch the film and see her scrabbling about for love, having to take whatever scraps she's thrown because she is who she is.

There are definitely some comic elements in the film thanks to the sharp, witty dialogue but, overall, it makes me sad for Dil and angry with Fergus/Jimmy for- ahem- dicking her about the shameful way he does. Coming into her life, turning it upside-down, even changing her appearance, her most valuable attribute in her own mind, and for what? He'd just better have something to offer her in return for her sacrifices, that's all I'll say on the matter.

It's the twenty-fifth anniversary of this magnificent film this year, did you guys know that? To celebrate and commemorate its quarter-of-a-century, the good folks at the British Film Institute have released it in a fantastic Dual Format Edition (DVD and Blu-Ray), complete with some really nifty special features.

The film has a terrific soundtrack, including the theme song performed by Boy George and
produced by The Pet Shop Boys, and there's an illustrated booklet included as well, with full film credits and essays by Ashley Clark, Juliet Jacques and Brian Hoyle. I'd totally buy the film if I were you guys. A bit like Dil, there's a lot of goodies crammed into one smashing little package...


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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