112 minutes, U.K.-Japan, 1992, Colour, 35mm

Shot in parlous circumstances as its British producers neared bankruptcy, Jordan’s portrait of an IRA gunman embracing his humanity in unexpected circumstances proved the pivotal moment in his career, after an ingenious U.S. marketing campaign swept the film all the way to Oscar night.

Stephen Rea once more embodies seriously conflicted innocence as the protagonist’s promise to ill-fated squaddie Forest Whitaker prompts a life-changing encounter with the latter’s alluring lover (a once-in-a-lifetime performance from Jaye Davidson).

The anguish of love and the rewards of compassion combine to make this an enduring modern classic, long after its much-touted ‘secret’ is out.

Showing as part of our Neil Jordan Retrospective which runs throughout May. His new film, Byzantium, opens on May 31st.

See our online exhibition of some of Neil Jordan’s substantial document collections held by the IFI Irish Film Archive.

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