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March 1993


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Blaine Allan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 20 Mar 1993 22:47:17 EST
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I share Ben Alpers's apprehension about The Crying Game and the bumph that's
surrounded it.  It surprises me the extent to which my usually skeptical
friends and acquaintances have bought into Miramax's marketing ploy about the
twist in the plot.  Apparently, before the press screening in New York, re-
viewers were handed an note that implored them not to reveal The Big One,
telling them exactly the events that comprise the plot twist they were not
to reveal.  Miramax has made a Syd Field-style plot point into the bedrock of
a sales campaign, making a film that might have been ignored, like Neil
Jordan's previous film The Miracle, or a minor art-house hit like Mona Lisa
into something that people are going to see because they know there's some-
thing that they don't know.  (The Crying Game was okay, I thought, with some
wonderful work by Stephen Rea and the other performers, though I had trouble
believing a hardened IRA solider would behave the way he did when the job went
wrong.)  The market manipulation is so self-evident, but North America seems to
be having a whale of a time spending their money to play the Crying Game.
I'm not too grumpy, if it's helping a smaller player like Miramax build a
little cash flow, getting a decent film like The Crying Game into the hinter-
lands (like here).  And maybe it'll send a few people back to Neil Jordan's
earlier films (not only The Miracle and Mona Lisa, but The Company of Wolves
and the regrettable High Spirits, all of which, as Amy Taubin pointed out in
a Village Voice article that gave away the Crying Game scam, concern romantic
and sexual fascination with someone who is not what he/she/it at first seems
-- and maybe even his first, Angel [aka Danny Boy], also with Stephen Rea, and
which, as I recall, doesn't suppress the political questions of the Problems
quite like The Crying Game does.
Besides, I would have thought that Jaye Davidson's Oscar nomination would have
deflated some of the caution.