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Dead Ringers 1988
Description: Elliot, a successful gynecologist, works at the same practice as his identical twin, Beverly. Elliot is attracted to many of his patients and has affairs with them. When he inevitably loses interest, he will give the girl over to Beverly, the meeker of the two, without the girl knowing the difference. Beverly falls difficult for one of the patients, Claire, but when she inadvertently deceives him, he slips into a state of madness.
Released: 23 Sep 1988 Director: David Cronenberg Writers: David Cronenberg, Norman Snider, Bari Wood (book), Jack Geasland (book) Actors: Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske, Barbara Gordon Genres: Drama, Horror, Thriller
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Dead Ringers Reviews:

While I like "The Brood" quite a bit, Dead Ringers gets my vote as Cronenberg's greatest work. Follow along as the twin brothers spiral out of control when they unsuccessfully test to break gratis from every other. One's more confident, the another more timid. But they depend on every other, and at middle age neither has the psychological strength to be their own person; they still don't have a sense of self. Among many favourite moments, I love the stage where Elliott, the more confident twin, tries to kiss Claire. It's his method of trying to synchronize himself with his brother Beverly, whom Claire has a real connection with. "I'm sorry but I can't", she intones. Elliott turns to the mirror, disturbed. "Am I really that various from my brother?". He absolutely does not know who he is. Although it's not without some humor, Dead Ringers is very bleak. It has an emotional intensity that most films can't touch. It is sad AND beautiful.The film itself *looks* great. Nice script, and AWESOME performances from both Irons and Bujold. As other reviewer suggested, watch it twice if you don't like it the first time- it might grow on you. This is my all-time favourite movie.


Growing up together as social outcasts with only every another for company, twins Elliot and Beverly Mantle become very close. This closeness becomes more like them both sharing one self in two bodies as they study in the same zone and eventually become experts in the field of gynaecology. They share everything and several can say them apart; an arrangement that works well until Beverly falls for a patient (Claire Niveau) and finds that there are things he doesn't wish to share with Elliot. As Bev confronts the concept of them being separate for the first time ever, he begins to fall apart mentally and, when Elliot tries to reach out and support him he too is drawn into confusion over identity and an inability to search where one of them stops and the another starts.Being a Cronenberg movie I knew to expect body horror and, shall I say, an 'unusual' theme and in many methods the movie delivered in spades but in a much more cerebral fashion. The plot is not simple to explain but it is a fully convincing breakdown of both Elliot and Beverly as they lose contact with the lines between them (if the lines ever really existed). Of course it is rather extreme but it is relentlessly interesting in terms of the script and the characters. The gynaecological part of the movie allows Cronenberg to discover his more usual body horror items but this all came second to the much more interesting material that exists in the script. Cronenberg appears to be as fascinated as me by the characters and he directs with a cold eye, letting the creepy atmosphere come from not only the storyline but each shot, each set and each performance; not only this but this is one of his more available movies without losing much of what makes Cronenberg Cronenberg.Of course a heavy part of the movie working is two excellent performances from Jeremy Irons, who I have not seen better in any another films. Using unique results as well as the old 'over the shoulder' technique, Irons is able to convincingly be on screen in two characters at the same time, but it is not the shot framing that makes it convincingly two characters, it is Irons' performance that does that. His Beverly is so feeble and has a convincing breakdown; while his Elliot appears much more together but suffers in a various method from the same struggle. Obviously being identical, it is due to Irons that the two characters come across so very various but yet seem just like the same person. In each tiny stage he manages to stay in hero no matter what – it's difficult for me to describe, you need to really see it for yourself. Bujold is nice in help early on but, as the twins' storyline gets more complex, her characters feels a bit intrusive and uninteresting, but generally she is good. However, to talk about anyone beyond this is to recommend there is room for them in the movie – there isn't. Instead the movie is cute much dominated by two folks – and they are both Jeremy Irons, producing two nice performances that were vital for the movie to work.Overall this may be a tiny too weird for some viewers but many more will search it to be one of their favorite Cronenberg movies on the basis that it has the qualities that makes him him but is also a lot more available as well. The body horror is there in the background but it is the psychological scarring and confusion that is of much more interest; the script is nice even if the plot goes to the usual Cronenberg excesses but it is two excellent performances by Irons that makes it all come together in a compelling and interesting film.


Identical twin brothers Beverly and Elly Mantle are successful gynaecologists in Toronto. Their relationship is intense and very close - perhaps too close. The Mantles experiment with sex, drugs and private identity, to the detriment of their practice, and ultimately of their psychological health.This is a David Cronenberg film, so we are in the familiar realm of horror, mind minigames and perverted science. The director/producer/writer appears in the credits above the game and even ahead of his stars, Irons and Bujold. Essentially, the 'dead ringers' of the game are the brothers, who regard their mental and emotional oneness as being something more. They see themselves as siamese twins, bound by their flesh, and fated to share each experience, even unto death.Irons does wonders to enjoy two complex characters in one movie. A fresh technique named 'motion control' allows the actor to appear as two folks in the same frame, but there is also plenty of the old 'body double' method, filming over a shoulder, then reversing the angle.As teenage boys, the Mantle twins are clearly very bright, and display a precocious interest in surgery and women's reproductive apparatus. They are also creepy geeks. By the late 1980's they are handsome forty-somethings, and hailed as brilliant gynaecologists by everyone in the medical profession.The screen actress Claire Niveau becomes Elliot's patient, and the brothers are later sharing her. They frequently swap territories without her knowledge. She has a special uterus, and as Beverly (or is it Elliot?) explores this detail with his fingers, it is hard to say whether he is examining her or masturbating her. Before long, both brothers are doing both to Claire.Elliot is a several mins older than Beverly, microscopically taller and a nuance darker in colouring, but by nature he and 'baby brother' are utterly different. While Beverly is shy and diffident, Elliot is a callous, manipulative smoothie. When Claire, still unaware that she is sleeping with two men, expresses an interest in mild masochism, Beverly recoils but Elly enthusiastically obliges. He uses surgical tubes and clamps to tie Claire down for sex, and as he releases her after orgasm, we sense that for him the experience has been 'surgical' - almost a dispassionate experiment.If Beverly is Jeckyll and Elliot is Hyde, we are everytime conscious that both personalities inhabit one awareness. "You haven't had any experience until I've had it too," Elliot says Beverly, and the twins certainly seem to share everything, treating every other's patients (without saying the patients, of course) and working in tandem on research papers. The twins have a twin obsession in common - work and sex. Beverly sums it up with, "We do girls - that's our speciality."Identity is at the core of this film, and the dualities and ambiguities of personality recur with brain-teasing frequency. The twins are interested in female genitalia, both professionally and recreationally. Claire attracts them because of her dualities - she is a large personality who adopts another personas for her work: a powerful girl who is turned on by being submissive: a gynaecological 'star' who happens to be infertile: and the French Canadian 'twin' to the English Canadian brothers. Elliot sleeps with two call-girls who are twin sisters, and identifies them by getting every to call him either 'Bev' or 'Elly'. The movie has layer upon layer of these dualities. Genevieve Bujold is a French Canadian actress testing a French Canadian actress. We see her being made up for a movie, but when we see her left side, the make-up is of cuts and bruises. The Mantles prescribe drugs to every other, and every to himself, criss-crossing the doctor/patient demarcation lines. They take pills to cure their addiction to pills. Cary is having a relationship with Elliot, but when she gets both brothers at once, she is deeply aroused. The film, like the brothers, oscillates between oneness and separation. "I wish to see you two together," tells Claire, confused by their duality. So do we.



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