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December 12, 2013

Midnight Movie of the Week #206 - Dead Ringers

"I've often thought that there should be beauty contests for the insides of bodies." 
Starring: Jeremy Irons, Jeremy Irons, Genevieve Bujold, Heidi von Palleske.
Directed by David Cronenberg
Rated R for being a David Cronenberg movie and lots of vagina talk and implied vaginal mutilation.
Dead Ringers in Six Words:
Twin gynecologists invent tools, spiral downward.
Why You'll Love It:
By some standards, Dead Ringers might be one of David Cronenberg's least weird films of the '70s and '80s. I mean, it's nearly a drama about two unstable identical twins who lose their way in the rough and tumble world of feminine care. But, it's also a movie directed by David Cronenberg, which means that at some point there's going to be mutations of the body and skin eating and people losing their freaking minds. And when Cronenberg's control of that line between what is real and surreal combines with the lead performance(s) of Jeremy Irons as Eliot and Beverley Mantle, the end result is a surprisingly somber but entirely fascinating drama...with dreams about flesh eating and mutations and lots of pointy instruments.
The Highlights:
  • Irons is both the first and the second best reason to watch the film, and the range he shows as both brothers is quite impressive. It is at times hard to tell which brother is which, but that's due to Cronenberg's devious plot than and not a flaw of Irons' work.
  • The most macabre pieces of the film are probably the bizarre instruments that the brothers develop, which are sure to give anyone with lady parts a few shivers.
  • The relationship the brothers have with their first "mutant" lover, played by Genevieve Bujold, leads to the most Cronenberg moment of the film, a dream sequence that belongs right next to his most bizarre scenes from films like Videodrome and The Brood.
Also Worth Knowing:
  • The film was set to be titled Twins, but Cronenberg lost an arm-wrestling contest against Arnold Schwarzenegger (because he couldn't get Jeff Goldblum to arm-wrestle in his place) and the title went to Ivan Reitman for that comedy about Arnold and Devito being brothers.
  • That last point was not entirely true, as you might have guessed. The film was set to be called Twins, and the title did go to Reitman, but only because Cronenberg had worked with him before and sold him the title.
  • The film is based, partially, on a real life pair of twins and is a loose adaptation of a non-fiction book, which was also titled Twins.
Dead Ringers is for fans of...
Drug addiction and depression, codependent siblings who share everything, the terrors of surgery, the terrors of the vagina, mutations that don't make any kind of sense (which is what makes them mutations, naturally), and Jeremy Irons not having his Die Hard with a Vengeance accent.

If you like this, you might also like...
Sisters (1973)
Videodrome (1983)
Raising Cain (1992)
Adaptation. (2002)
American Mary (2013)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I've never seen this but Jeremy Irons is great in everything