Dead Ringers (1988)

R   |    |  Drama, Horror, Thriller

Dead Ringers (1988) Poster

Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.




  • Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers (1988)
  • Jeremy Irons and Geneviève Bujold in Dead Ringers (1988)
  • David Cronenberg and Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers (1988)
  • David Cronenberg and Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers (1988)
  • Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers (1988)
  • Jeremy Irons and Heidi von Palleske in Dead Ringers (1988)

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13 August 2003 | Jonny_Numb
| difficult to get into, but once it takes hold...
David Cronenberg is a director of great unique vision, and he ranks highly on my list of favorites, not because every film he does is great per se, but because there is a certain level of consistency and quality that infects each bizarre celluloid mutation he comes up with. David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick have done a few good films, but their track records are generally inconsistent--Cronenberg, while grossly underrated, outshines them all. And "Dead Ringers"--probably his most widely-praised film in the mainstream, next to "The Fly"--is no exception. The film is quite puzzling on first inspection, and I did have a hard time settling into the mentality that would let me enjoy it, but once I did, I was thoroughly impressed--whether playing the smarmy Elliott or the sensitive Beverly Mantle, Jeremy Irons gives a wonderfully nuanced performance as identical twin gynecologists (the subtleties of difference in personality command multiple viewings to register). Not only is the film's central theme both compelling and disturbing (one personality split between two people), but the descent into (prescription) drug addiction and botched gynecological procedures (with Cronenberg's trademark insect-like surgical instruments) will make your skin crawl. It's a bleak, depressing, and tragic tale, but it shows brotherly relations with an intimacy few films ever approach. Anchored by Irons' spectacular dual performance, "Dead Ringers" is a film that shows a lot of maturity on Cronenberg's part, and though it might be hard to call it 'entertaining,' it does contain harsh imagery with an emotional pulse that will not be easily forgotten.


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