Dead Ringers

Dead Ringers

dir. David Cronenberg

Spine #21

Rating: 7.1

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My wife called me the moment the screen went black at the end of the film. The vibrating phone disconnected me from David Cronenberg’s Toronto, from the office of Doctors Mantle. My phone, at that second, acted as a defibrillator jolting me back into the real world and breaking the seal on my possibly collapsed lungs. A gasp of air aspirated a drop of tear which dripped from my eye. Dead Ringers was a little emotional for me, more so than the other Cronenberg films I have watched. I still, so many days later, do not really know how to process what I experienced.

The best place to start is with Jeremy Irons. There was a moment early in the film in which I realized that would happily enjoy just listening to Irons read from an encyclopedia of pharmaceuticals. That said it should be noted that every other aspect of Jeremy Irons’ performance is nearly flawless. In the film he plays twin, prodigy, gynecologists named Elliot and Beverly Mantle.  I have seen several instances of an actor sharing the screen with themselves but this one may be one of the most convincing when you add in the wildly different character arcs of both men.

The twins share everything, a practice, an apartment, women, everything but it starts to change when Beverly, the more modest of the two, falls in love with a celebrity client. Through this relationship Beverly develops a drug addiction and his life starts to unravel ramping up the tension between the twins.

There are a few instances of Cronenberg’s signature 80’s body-modification horror; which may be one of the reasons that I actually think my wife might, “might”, want to watch the film. I enjoyed the film immensely and suggest it to people with a slightly strong resolve.

Presentation:
The quality of the print leaves a little to desire. The colors, while strong in places was a little heavy in other, according the Criterion website it was approved by Cronenberg and DP Peter Suschitzky so I cannot hold it against them. The audio was a little tinny at times but the score drowns it out for the better.

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3 thoughts on “Dead Ringers

  1. I love the way you started this review – really gives a person a sense of how the film will affect them.

    It sounds like an intense film, and your review does it justice. I don’t normally watch this kind of film, but your review has almost sold me on it!! I mean, Jeremy Irons is ultra fab in everything. When you said you could listen to him reading a list of pharmaceuticals, I was nodding in agreement, “Preach it, brother.”

    Thanks for joining the #OCanada Blogathon, and for bringing David Cronenberg with you!

  2. I was lucky enough to see this when it first came out and yep, people were pretty quiet in the theater when the inevitable ending slowly rolled up on them. It’s a tough watch, but such great performances from Irons (it really seems as if it’s two different actors!) that even the grim bits can’t be looked away from.

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