Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Best Actor 1992: Stephen Rea in The Crying Game

Stephen Rea received his only Oscar nomination so far for portraying Fergus in The Crying Game.

The Crying Game is a rather scatter shot film that covers a whole lot of ideas, but the story is a IRA agent his time as one and his relationship with an IRA prisoner a British soldier Jody (Forrest Whitaker), and than later with the girlfriend of the soldier.

Stephen Rea performance here is an especially withdrawn performance almost the entire film. He at first looks like a loyal IRA soldier, as he first treats Jody the prisoner. He gets rather friendly with Jody though because he sees it as the decent thing to do, and Fergus is a man who cannot overcome his nature to be decent which leads him to form a relationship with Jody. I must say for me the relationship was not particularly compelling or interesting between the two, since Rea remains mostly reactionary, with rather uninteresting reactions. Also he is not helped by Forrest Whitaker who uses a rather distracting British accent of sorts. 

Well here the spoilers most certianly kick in, since I really need to mention the big twist to really be able to properly describe the rest of Rea's performance. Well after the death of Jody by accident, since Fergus could not bring himself to do it because of his nature. Rea is fine in showing Fegus as a decent guy in basically a situation he should not be in. Rea is technically realistic, but at the same time he is never particularly interesting either, since Fergus is a rather simple fellow.

Due to a promise he goes to seek out Jody's girlfriend Dill who lives in London. Rea seeks out Dill, and due to his seeking she becomes attracted to him, and he slowly becomes attracted to her, as he protects her from an aggressive suitor of Dill's. I can't say I bought Rea's performance completely here, because of his almost mad way of going after Dill, and this includes my first viewing before I knew the twist (which I most certainly suspected), and even more so after knowing the twist. Rea still also remains not particularly interesting, even if he is realistic enough I suppose. 

Well so after the twist is revealed and Dill turns out to be a man man. Well Rea certainly is realistic in his reaction to Dill's big reveal. He then is still realistic when he continues to see Dill because he sees it as the decent thing to do since after all his biggest character trait is that he is a decent sort of guy. All goes to hell for Fergus though when the IRA show up again. Rea is realistic and finally gets act out a little bit more, as he struggles to try to do again the decent thing. Overall his performance is basically realistic, therefore his performance is technically fine, but his performance never becomes at all interesting.


Anonymous said...

I agree, I dont think this film was the great acting feat it was made out to be, I find Jaye Davidson's performance to be especially overrated. Overall solid but nothing more

Sage Slowdive said...

I love everything about The Crying Game.

Fritz said...

I liked him when I saw it but that was probably 15 years ago so who knows what I will think today...

Anonymous said...

I really like Rea's performance in this alot, but I have a feeling this performance would have been overlooked if not for Harvey Weinstein's intense and shameless oscar campaign he launched for The Crying Game when Miramax acquired the US distribution rights for it. Needless to say Weinstein probably helped launch the whole oscar campaigning trend we see today