It’s hard for certain films to get past their now-well-known plot twists and developments, twists that tend to overshadow the rest of the film. It’s easy to think of The Sixth Sense in terms of its climactic twist and nothing else, forgetting what a great film it is all around. Same thing with The Crying Game; it has become ubiquitous in cinema lore for its one big reveal, but the film as a whole is remarkably good. Naturally, for someone who hadn’t seen the film but knew the twist going into it, I was unsure of how I’d end up on the other side of watching it, but I was surprised at how much I liked it in the end.
Fergus is a volunteer in the IRA, and at the opening of the film he is involved in a mission to kidnap a British soldier named Jody, played by Forest Whitaker, to trade his life for the release of several IRA members being held in prison. Fergus and Jody develop a bond, and Fergus makes a promise to take care of Jody’s girl Dil if Jody is killed. Fast forward a short while, and Fergus is living in hiding in London, where he does meet up with Dil, and begins a complicated relationship with her, until his past catches up to him in the usual way. First off, the technicals aren’t anything to get excited over, but they do the job. What does make this film is the story and the acting. The twist aside, which I won’t reveal for those who don’t know it, the film’s story is remarkably well done, and is especially believable for the progression of the characters, Fergus in particular, during the course of the film. It wouldn’t be half as believable, of course, if it weren’t for the acting involved from the central players, from Stephen Rea as Fergus to Jaye Davidson as Dil, even to Forest Whitaker as Jody, whose repartee with Fergus in the first act helped establish the film and give it a highlight right from the get-go.
I’m kinda miffed that I don’t have more to say about the film than that, really; it’s a very good film, and quite entertaining, but not in any overt way or distinguishable feature. It’s solid in every respect, and it all together makes for a picture that is easily worth the time put into it; that’s really all I have to say about it. I could get into a discussion about whether this really deserves “must see” status or not, but for once, I’m just going to let the film stand on its own merits, and give a recommendation to those who haven’t seen it, and let that be that. Real nice work from all involved in this, and it shows a lot.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10