In the opening scene of The Crying Game, Jody (Forest Whitaker), a black English soldier, is taken hostage by three I.R.A. gunmen. He is told that unless the British release one of their men, he will be shot.

While guarding the prisoner, Fergus (Stephen Rea) finds himself charmed by this gregarious lover of cricket and adventure. Jody in turn recognizes a sympathetic soul in Fergus. At one point in their dialogue, he tells the story of the frog and the scorpion to illustrate the truth that people do what they do because it is in their nature.

Knowing that Fergus is open-hearted and kind, Jody makes him promise to tell his girlfriend Dil in London that he was thinking of her when he died.

After several unexpected turns of events, Fergus goes into hiding in London, assuming a new identity and taking a job on a construction crew. He looks up Dil (Jaye Davidson) who works as a hairdresser and fancies herself a torch singer.

They hit it off -- his kindness and loyalty are very appealing to her, and he is bewitched by her sexual allure. Then Fergus has the carpet pulled out from under him by a revelation that puts him in a state of shock. He's even more unnerved when his two I.R.A. comrades (Adrian Dunbar and Miranda Richardson) arrive in town with a new assassination assignment for him.

The Crying Game is Irish writer and director Neil Jordan's seventh film, and it's a corker from start to finish. He' is deeply interested in the mystery of the human personality and the choices which define the soul. At one point, a bartender says to Fergus, "Who knows the secrets of the human heart?" Jordan compels us to consider just what that means as Fergus's spiritual odyssey takes him into the far country of love after all his preconceptions of truth, justice, duty, loyalty, and sex have been shattered. The surprises and epiphanies along the way are bold and provocative enough to make The Crying Game one of the best films of the year.