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The Crying Game
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 2.35:1 Widescreen
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
  • English PCM Stereo
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • The Making of The Crying Game
  • Audio commentary with writer and director Neil Jordan
  • Alternative ending with commentary by Neil Jordan
  • Northern Troubles
  • Original trailers
  • Illustrated booklet with essays by Ashley Clark, Juliet Jacques and Brian Hoyle, and full film credits

The Crying Game

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Neil Jordan
1992 | 107 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: £19.99 | Series: BFI
BFI Video

Release Date: February 20, 2017
Review Date: February 23, 2017

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SYNOPSIS

When British soldier Jody (Forest Whitaker) is kidnapped by the IRA, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with his captor, Fergus (Stephen Rea). When the abduction goes awry, Fergus leaves for London where he becomes embroiled in a curious love triangle with Dil (Jaye Davidson), Jodyís beautiful girlfriend.

Full of suspense, mystery and intrigue, this Academy Award-winning thriller challenged mainstream sexual stereotypes and remains a powerful and poignant exploration of gender and identity.


PICTURE

Neil Jordanís The Crying Game receives a Blu-ray release in BFIís new dual-format release, presenting the film in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on a dual-layer Blu-ray disc. The film is presented in 1080p/24hz high-definition and it comes from a 2K restoration scanned from the original 35mm negative. This is a region B release and North American viewers will require a Blu-ray player that can playback region B content.

My last experience with the film is through the Lionsgate DVD in North America, which was fine for the time, but this new presentation improves upon it by an incredibly large margin. Itís a far more filmic presentation, rendering the grain quite well a majority of the time (a few darker moments can look a little noisy) and the transfer and encode donít choke when rendering some of the smokier bar interiors, everything smoothly rendered without any banding present. Detail levels have greatly improved, providing better textures and excellent depth, and the image looks sharp and clear most of the time, a few softer shots being present but these are more than likely intentional. As far as transfer and encode go I canít fault it for much.

The restoration work has also cleaned up much in the way of debris and damage and I canít recall any type of damage showing up. Colours also look very splendid, wonderfully saturated and rich, reds looking particularly good. Black levels are decent and shadow delineation is strong. Overall, despite a few minor issues overall, I thought this really looked good, offering a sharp and fairly drastic improvement over the Lionsgate DVD.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The film comes with a lossless 2.0 PCM stereo surround track and itís quite effective. Though the film does have a few action scenes, it is ultimately a fairly quiet film. Dialogue sticks primarily to the fronts and it is clear and easy to hear. There is noticeable panning between the front three speakers for sound effects, which also creep back into the rears on occasion, as does the filmís score. The more action oriented sequences, including a rather big shoot out about a third of the way in, display a lot of activity and surround the viewer nicely, the whole thing sporting impressive range and fidelity, though a 5.1 remix would certainly have made these sequences more impressive. But as it stands itís a very clean, fairly active presentation.

8/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Though BFI appears to have carried everything over that was available on the Lionsgate DVD they disappointingly donít add much else. The disc features start out with two theatrical trailers, one appearing to be the full UK trailer and the second a teaser trailer going over the praise and accolades the film has received from the critics. The disc then features a rather awful alternate ending with an optional commentary featuring director Neil Jordan. Jordan explains in the track he had to shoot this ending to get the financing because the one financier, Film 4, were iffy on the filmís subject matter and felt a ďhappy endingĒ was needed. I wonít spoil it but it is an awful ending and thankfully everyone agreed that it was awful and went with the original, intended ending. The original source materials have been lost so the ending has been taken from a video tape but is presented in the widescreen ratio.

We then get the same making-of that was on the DVD. Featuring Jordan, producers Stephen Woolley, Nik Powell, and Angus Finney, Jane Giles (author of the BFI book on the film), and actor Stephen Rea, they offer a general talking-heads rundown on the production of the film, from original inception (the script was originally written before Jordanís Mona Lisa) and then the changes along the way before production actually started. The journey was hard, though, as the subject matter really turned off potential investors and distributors, with the American company Miramax (and its heads, Bob and Harvey Weinstein) being the only company to see the potential of the film. It also goes over the controversies surrounding the film in the UK, particularly how it presented an IRA member in a sympathetic way. This course didnít matter in North America and the Weinsteinís exploited the filmís ďsecretĒ leading to a huge success in the States. This documentary has its moments of interest (including getting perspectives from two people familiar with the ďTroubles,Ē who both talk about the authenticity of the film) but itís unfortunately, in the end, a fairly dry 51-minute talking-heads documentary that can get a little too focused on certain nitty-gritty details, particularly in the financing of the film.

Following that is a 9-minute feature that appears to have been made on the fly (the notes state itís something that just happened to be filmed while the supplement producers were filming interviews in Ireland) called Northern Troubles. The filmmakers go on tours with Jim (a Protestant Loyalist) and Packey (a Catholic Nationalist) looking at various murals painted on buildings and landmarks around Dublin, signifying some of the violent events that took place during the Troubles. They explain the effects that the violence has had on the area and share their own perspectives on what happened and what the future might hold (keep in mind this was originally filmed in the early 2000s). It was made originally for a studio DVD release and itís actually a bit of a surprise they would have bothered including a feature like this. Itís not terribly in-depth but it offers two decent first-hand perspectives and some history.

The final feature is an audio commentary with director Neil Jordan. I actually preferred this to the making-of by a fairly wide margin, and Jordan does cover most of the details covered in that feature. He talks about the development of the script (which sounds to have been originally more about racism in Ireland) and getting the film financed, touching on some of his other work that led up to it, while also getting into more technical details about the look of the film and working around the budget limitations. He also talks quite a bit casting, particularly Jaye Davidson, and expresses his surprise over the success of the film. I thought it was a good track and would actually recommend it over the making-of feature.

BFI also includes one of their excellent booklets, featuring an essay on the film by Ashley Clark, and another by Juliet Jacques, her essay looking more at the sexual and racial politics, stressing the filmís time and place, Iím guessing for younger audiences coming to the film for the first time. BFI also includes a rather lengthy biography for director Neil Jordan.

7/10

CLOSING

Though the features are decent I was a bit disappointed that BFI didnít add anything new on the disc, though their booklet is at least a solid addition. Despite that the new presentation offers a significant improvement over the previous DVD (the North American Lionsgate DVD at least), which makes it more than worthwhile to pick up.




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