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The movie's central narrative revolves around Fergus and explores his guilt about having caused a decent man's death, his attraction to that man's former lover, Dil, and his difficulties in coming to terms with Dil's being male. Although Fergus' feelings of guilt over Jody's death are at times clumsily presented, such as when the director shows soft focus images of Jody playing cricket whenever Fergus is supposed to be thinking wistfully about the poor man, the ways such feelings affect the Irishman's relationship with Dil are nicely brought out. In fact, the dynamics of the romance that develops between Fergus and Dil are consistently engaging. The moviegoer is thus shown not only how Fergus' feelings evolve but how the frequently mistreated Dil comes to see that man's innate decency and begins to care for him as well.

While these elements of the narrative are generally well handled, the latter parts of the movie, in which Fergus' psychopathic cronies from the IRA are reintroduced, are so overdone that they can be bothersome. The director is able to use the troubles ensuing from their reappearance to bring out Fergus' love for Dil, which, even at the film's end, he has difficulty expressing, but such minor benefits are more than outweighed by the awkwardness of the melodrama in which they are submerged. Fergus' IRA comrades are presented as such sadistic villains that the viewer may actually wonder if the movie's production had been funded by the Ulster Defense Association.

Such characterizations are not The Crying Game's only problems, however. The worst of its faults, in fact, is the way Jordan often exploits prejudices viewers may have of Dil. The movie does include moments when the director appears to be trying to shock the viewer by emphasizing Dil's female social persona and then contrasting it with his male gender. I will grant that Fergus is presented as being sickened when he learns Dil is male and that, if Jordan were simply attempting to convey his character's reaction, he would have needed to make the viewer feel the man's surprise and nausea. Unfortunately, although the director obviously wants the viewer to engage with Fergus' emotions, he also appears to be attempting to shock the viewer himself. By so playing upon the narrow-minded prejudices many people have, Jordan has burdened his work with an extremely questionable trick. The director's efforts to startle the viewer only distract him and, consequently, detract from his ability

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