I remember the reaction to this shocking film when it first came out. It became a lightning rod for debate. The big secret has become common knowledge, however I will still avoid revealing it in this review. After 15 years since its release, there are younger viewers who may still be innocent in their film history to not know the twist. Having not seen the film until after learning the secret, the impact of the film wasn't ruined, however I can only imagine the shock for those lucky enough to go into the film unaware. I wouldn't want to ruin that for anyone, because the twist is amazingly handled and can only add to the freshness of the first experience if unknown.
The story begins as British soldier Jody (Forest Whitaker, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND) is lured into a kidnapping trap by IRA member Jude (Miranda Richardson, SPIDER). The IRA wants to trade Jody for one of their members who is under interrogation. Fergus (Stephen Rea, MICHAEL COLLINS), a humane IRA soldier, is assigned to watch Jody and over a few days the two men develop a friendship. Jody asks Fergus to visit his girl Dil (Jaye Davidson, STARGATE) in London if he is eventually killed. This opening sequence concludes in a very unexpected and ironic way. Following this, Fergus ends up in London going by the name Jimmy. He finds Dil, who works as a hairdresser by day and a singer in a pub at night. Fergus/Jimmy protects her from an abusive boyfriend, soon developing a romantic relationship with her. His secret of kidnapping Jody weighs on his soul, but he will find out that Dil has her own secrets as well. Fergus/Jimmy wants to protect Dil, but his violent past will come back to haunt him.