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Overall Rating

Awesome: 31.82%
Worth A Look50%
Just Average: 4.55%
Pretty Crappy: 4.55%
Sucks: 9.09%

1 review, 16 user ratings

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Dead Ringers
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by Chef ADogg

"Jeremy Irons is a sexy bitch."
4 stars

"Dead Ringers" marks the first time I've ever admired Jeremy Irons; he's always chilly and distant and creepy, but it works in this picture because a) the role calls for "creepy" in Roseanne-sized amounts, and b) he radiates a strange, Iggy Pop-ish sexuality that (cliche of cliches) sears the screen. I dug it.

But Irons is not the whole show here; his performance would amount to very little if it wasn't contained within David Cronenberg's chilly atmosphere. "Dead Ringers" isn't like most movies, which move from start to finish in a straight line and tie themselves tightly to reality; it seems to float just a bit above what you can touch and see.

"Dead Ringers" is all about what you can feel. It's an experience, and not really one that I enjoyed. I admired it from a filmlover's perspective, and the images did give me a jolt from time to time, but it put a feeling in the pit of stomach that made me want to cry.

"Dead Ringers" feels like a sad, sad dream. The plot doesn't make sense, in the way that most plots do; a lot of the events that take place are never explained, and the ones that we can figure out don't have the feel of reality--they're heightened, and work more on your senses than your mind.

The themes of the picture are rich, and can easily be appreciated. The ending works in many different directions, and can be taken a hundred different ways; it worked for me on a purely emotional level, dredging up the memories of a dream I had long ago.

"Dead Ringers" aims to hurt, but in a very elegant way. Some movies manipulate you and some movies suckerpunch you; "Dead Ringers" never resorts to trickery or force. Cronenberg tells the story, and lets the viewer's emotions determine how much he enjoys the film.

What I really did like about the film was the dread, the fear of seperation. This is a movie about two twin brothers who ache in different directions--they want to be one, but they also want to be free. Their emotions are tangled and complex, but they all revolve around the need for togetherness, for warmth.

The twins (both played by Irons) share a woman, a movie star. Elliot is the suave brother, who sleeps with her first and then passes her along to the sweet, disturbed Beverly. The first tug of the plot comes when Beverly chooses to keep the details of his first evening with the movie star to himself; Elliot tells him, "You haven't experienced anything until you've told me. You haven't fucked her until you've told me."

"Then I haven't fucked her," Beverly replies.

The two brothers move apart from each other as Beverly falls in love with the movie star; she leaves to shoot a film, and he battles with drugs. He eventually finds himself back with Elliot, and they both start to come undone.

To reveal anything more than that would be a crime; the movie doesn't depend on its plot so much as its atmosphere, but the twists must be carefully guarded nonetheless. The ending is not played for shocks, and that is the beauty of it--it comes out slowly, piece by piece, as if the viewer is awakening from a long nightmare, which is remembered in fragments.

Thinking back on "Dead Ringers," I admire it from plenty of different aspects--more so than while I was watching it. That might be its biggest strength; it drops your guard and refuses your analysis. It does its best work days later, when it has fully imbedded itself in your consciousness.

Kind of like a...dream.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=3024&reviewer=123
originally posted: 11/05/99 19:12:12
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User Comments

12/28/17 morris campbell morbid decent into madness nothing special 2 stars
5/08/06 K. Sear Not his best but very Cronenburg through and through. 4 stars
11/21/05 Agent Sands Typical subtle but eye-popping, teeth-clenching Cronenberg fare. 4 stars
8/08/05 jeanne "Surgical instruments for mutant women"?!? AIEEE! - I'm gluing my knees together! 5 stars
8/27/04 Goggman The most depressing most I think I have ever seen. It sticks with you for a long time. 5 stars
6/10/04 stewart exceptional. cronenburg's best. 5 stars
11/28/03 john completly pointless - I'd rather take a walk outside 1 stars
1/12/03 Jack Sommersby A brilliant and disturbing artistic achievement. Irons is magnificent. 5 stars
11/06/02 Charles Tatum Incredible and unnerving 5 stars
5/18/02 Kyle Would somebody please mind telling me what the fuck I just watched? 1 stars
12/10/01 boomby chooby boomby goo! 4 stars
10/29/00 Bill Neal Extremely disturbing and well made..TERRIFIC!! Irons and Cronenberg pull off a great film. 4 stars
8/15/00 Terrie Smith Hell of a performance from Irons, exceptional. One of Cronenberg's better films. 4 stars
4/09/00 Lexa Both icy and visceral. A tragedy, and a masterpiece. 5 stars
12/04/99 Dougie Cronenberg's Best. Truly Creepy. 5 stars
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  02-Sep-1988 (R)
  DVD: 07-Jun-2005



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