The Crying Game is a controversial 1991 thriller directed by Neil Jordan, which went from art house cult favorite to worldwide sensation on the basis of the film’s most shocking revelation. The Crying Game took advantage of viral marketing before there even was such a thing as word of mouth; widely0read positive reviews combined to build up suspense and anticipation among moviegoers. Not since the original theatrical release of Psycho had there been such a concerted and well-publicized attempt convey the plot of a film without giving away its “secret.”
The Crying Game went into wide release in the U.S. the very same week that the millions of shoppers saw the image of Stephen Rea looking out at them from the cover of Entertainment Weekly with a finger to lips beneath the headline “The Movie Everyone’s [not] Talking About.” By that point, however, three weeks had passed since the Academy Award nominations were announced and anyone paying attention would have gone into the movie already aware of its big reveal.
Not that knowing the secret impacts enjoyment of this dazzlingly complex thriller which by the point it’s most controversial secret is revealed has already pulled off a Psycho-style shocking death of the character played by the most recognizable of its stars to most American audiences. The Crying Game offers more than one surprise plot twist; it is a constantly winding labyrinth of confounded expectations as it tackles issues related to everything from political extremism to gender identity to the nature of man.
Nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture, The Crying Game earned Neil Jordan an Academy Award for the complex and literate screenplay.