Written by Neil Jordan
Produced by Stephen Wolley
Starring: Stephen Rea, Miranda Richardson, Jaye Davidson and Forrest Whitaker
Country: United Kingdom
Release Date: October 30, 1992
Why you should see it?
The film is a psychological thriller and a drama that explores terms of race, gender, nationality and sexuality against a backdrop of the Irish troubles.
Crying game is one of those films that involve us deeply in the story and then it reveals that the story is really about something else. This is the movie that you need to watch with an open mind.
IRA foot soldier Fergus and a unit of other IRA fighters, including a woman named Jude and led by Maguire, kidnap Jody, a black British soldier after Jude lures him to a secluded area with the promise of sex. The IRA demands the release of other gaoled IRA members, threatening to execute Jody in three days if their demands are not met. While the amiable Fergus guards Jody, they develop a bond – much to the chagrin of the other IRA men. During this time, Jody tells Fergus the story about the Scorpion and the Frog.
Jody persuades Fergus to promise to seek out his girlfriend, Dil, in London, to tell her he loved her, and protect her after Jody has been killed. The deadline set by Jody’s captors passes and Jody is to be executed. Fergus takes Jody into the woods to carry out the sentence. However, Jody knows that Fergus is no murderer at heart, and makes a break for it. Sure enough, Fergus cannot bring himself to shoot the fleeing Jody in the back, but Jody is instead accidentally run over and killed by British Saracen armoured personnel carriers as they suddenly move in to assault the IRA safehouse. With his IRA companions seemingly dead after the attack, Fergus hides from the main body of the IRA in London, where he takes a job as a day labourer, using the alias “Jimmy”. While in London, Fergus seeks out and meets Jody’s attractive girlfriend Dil at a hair salon. Later they talk in a bar, where the next evening he sees her singing “The Crying Game”.
Fergus still suffers from guilt about Jody’s death and sees him in his dreams bowling a cricket ball to him. He continues to pursue Dil, protecting her from an obsessive suitor and gradually falling in love with her. Later, when he is about to make love to her in her apartment, he discovers that she is in fact a pre-op transwoman. His initial reaction is of revulsion. Rushing to the bathroom to throw up, he accidentally hits Dil in the face, leaving her with a nosebleed. He then leaves the apartment. A few days later, Fergus leaves Dil a note, and the two make up. Despite everything, Dil is still attracted to him. Around the same time, Jude unexpectedly reappears in Fergus’ apartment. She tells him that the IRA has tried and convicted him in absentia. She forces him to agree to help with a new mission to aid in assassinating a judge. She also off-handedly mentions that she knows about Fergus and Dil, warning him that the IRA will kill him if Fergus does not co-operate.
Fergus, however, cannot overcome his feelings for Dil, and continues wooing her. Fergus shields her from possible retribution by giving her a haircut and male clothes, as a disguise. The night before the IRA mission is to be carried out, Dil gets heavily drunk and Fergus has to escort her to her apartment, where Dil asks for Fergus to stay with her. Fergus complies, then admits to Dil that he had an indirect hand in her former boyfriend’s death. Dil, drunk, appears not to have understood, but in the morning, before Fergus wakes up, Dil ties him to the bed. Dil unwittingly prevents Fergus from joining the other IRA members and completing the planned assassination. Holding Fergus at gunpoint, Dil forces him to tell Dil that he loves her and will never leave her. Dil unties him, saying that, even if he is lying, it is still nice to hear his words. Dil then breaks down in tears.
Meanwhile, Jude and Maguire gun the judge down, but Maguire is shot dead by one of his bodyguards. A vengeful Jude enters Dil’s flat with a gun, seeking to kill Fergus for missing the assassination. Dil takes several shots at Jude, hitting her, whilst stating that she is aware that Jude was complicit in Jody’s death and that Jude used her sexuality to trick him. Dil finally kills Jude with a shot in the neck. Dil then points the gun at Fergus, but lowers her hand, saying that she cannot kill him, because Jody will not allow her to. Fergus prevents Dil from shooting herself, and tells her to hide out in the club for a while. When Dil is gone, he wipes Dil’s fingerprints off the gun and allows himself to be arrested in place of Dil.
The epilogue takes place a few months later – Fergus, in prison serving a sentence of over six years, is visited by Dil. Dil, after talking with Fergus about plans once he gets out of prison, asks him why he took the fall for her in the first place. Fergus responds, “As a man once said, it’s in my nature.” He then tells her the story of the Scorpion and the Frog.