The Crying Game (1992)

The Northern Irish Troubles provide the backdrop for a study of sexual intrigue, as an IRA gunman befriends the girlfriend of an abducted soldier.

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Alternative titles

  • The Soldier's Wife Working


“Has the sure grip and the unstoppable momentum of a dream.”
Terrence Rafferty, The New Yorker, 1992

Irish writer-director Neil Jordan explored fairytales in such films as The Company of Wolves (1984) and Ondine (2009). Although the premise of The Crying Game suggests gritty realism, the movie unfolds in a sensuous dream world. It tells the story of an IRA gunman (Stephen Rea) who comes to a largely nocturnal, neon-lit London and seeks out the partner (Jaye Davidson) of the soldier he helped kidnap. The characters are not what they seem, and neither is the movie: it wears the clothes of a thriller, but sheds them to investigate the malleability of love and attraction.

A US marketing campaign, playing on a shocking plot twist, helped catapult the film to box office success. Of its six Oscar nominations, it won Best Original Screenplay.

James Mason played a similarly haunted IRA operative in Odd Man Out (1947). Jaye Davidson’s brief film career culminated with a role as an Egyptian god in Stargate (1994).

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