(director/writer: Neil Jordan; cinematographer: Ian Wilson; editor: Kant Pan; music: Anne Dudley; cast: Stephen Rea (Fergus), Miranda Richardson (Jude), Forest Whitaker (Jody), Jim Broadbent (Col.), Ralph Brown (Dave), Adrian Dunbar (Maguire), Jaye Davidson (Dil), Breffini McKenna (Tinker); Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Nik Powell; Miramax-Mayfair Entertainment; 1992-UK)

“Absorbing offbeat blend of a romantic, psychological and political thriller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Boy George sings the theme song, that was written by Geoff Stephens. Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan(“The Company of Wolves“/”Mona Lisa“/”The Miracle“) is writer-director of this absorbing offbeat blend of a romantic, psychological and political thriller.

IRA militant Fergus (Stephen Rea) kidnaps the drunken black British soldier Jody (Forest Whitaker) at a South Armagh fairground with the help of two comrades, his girlfriend Jude (Miranda Richardson) and Maguire (Adrian Dunbar), and they hold him hostage at a farm while they negotiate for an exchange of prisoners with the Brits. But things go awry during the stay and there’s an army raid, and Fergus hides in London. Through a photo taken from the prisoner, Fergus tracks down at a London bar Jody’s mulatto hairdresser and chanteuse girlfriend, Dil (Jaye Davidson), and gets surprised at what he finds.The entertaining pic keeps surprising us with twists and subplots, and effectively uses a parable about a frog towing a scorpion to the other side of the river (told twice) to give its storytelling traction as it raises questions about loyalty.

Jim Broadbent is the London bartender who connects Fergus with Dil. Miranda Richardson, in an inconsequential part, plays Fergus’s IRA girlfriend. While the three leads, Rhea, Whitaker and Davidson excel with demanding performances.

The oddball pic surprisingly caught on with the public and became a smash commercial hit, after ignored when first released in England.