Jody (The Crying Game)
Writer/director Neil Jordan’s 1988 drama is remembered mainly for its big twist, which made headlines at the time. What has sadly been forgotten is Whitaker’s contribution, his role as a hostage to the IRA, British soldier Jody. During his time held captive, he develops a friendship of sorts with captor Fergus, played by Stephen Rea.
Jody is clearly terrified, and convinced that he isn’t going to live through his ordeal. Whitaker manages to put this emotion on-screen in a realistic way. No histrionics, just genuine, tense fear. Torn between trying not to incur the wrath of his captors, and an urge to escape, he walks a thin line between trying to lull Fergus into a false sense of security, and developing genuine emotional attachments. Whitaker is able to show both the character’s vulnerability and his inner strength.
Forest Whitaker’s role in The Crying Game isn’t a glamorous one, but it works as the heart of the film, and his talent in combining an emotional performance with great screen presence, whilst mastering an English accent, is impressive indeed.