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Dead Ringers

Two bodies. Two minds. One soul.
Dead Ringers
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 woman over to Beverly, the meeker of the two, without the woman knowing the difference. Beverly falls hard for one of the patients, Claire, but when she inadvertently deceives him, he slips into a state of madness.
Title Dead Ringers
Release Date 1988-09-23
Genres Drama Horror Thriller
Production Companies Morgan Creek Productions, Mantle Clinic II, Téléfilm Canada
Production Countries Canada, United States of America


John Chard
I've often thought that there should be beauty contests for the insides of bodies. Dead Ringers is directed by David Cronenberg who also co-adapts the screenplay with Norman Snider from the book "Twins" written by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland. It stars Jeremy Irons and Genevieve Bujold. Music is by Howard Shore and cinematography by Peter Suschitzky. Identical twin gynaecologists Beverly and Elliott Mantle (Irons) run a high end fertility clinic in the city. Both in tune with each in spite of being different personalities, their world starts to fold inwards when Beverly falls in love with drug dependent actress Claire Niveau (Bujold). Inspired by the real life story of gynaecologist twins Cyril and Steve Marcus (who were both found dead from suicide brought about by drug addiction), Dead Ringers is an amalgamation of unsettling horror and icy cold playfulness; in other words a perfect canvas for auteur Cronenberg to paint some of his peccadilloes. Cronenberg doesn't need to be gory, gimmicky or schlocky, he instead utilises the characters on the page to spin a clinical character study. Themes pulsing throughout involve individuality, identity, misogyny, narcissism, eroticism and addiction, all played out in the mystical world of surgery and in-human metaphysics. The tempo never rises above a steady heart beat, rumbling along ominously, until we enter the home straight and the director delivers a devastating yet deeply moving conclusion. Backed by a stunning dual performance from Irons, and a ballsy one from Bujold, Dead Ringers is a film of genuine greatness and a piece of work that's alive with smart ideas. 8.5/10
Sheer brilliance. Deep down, EVERYONE has a love/hate thing about identical twins. On the one side, they wish they had that kind of communion with someone, that sort of magical intimacy they share, having someone basically the exact same as themselves...yet that same one-of-a-kind companionship is scary as hell. I haven't seen, from my fellow Canadian, either 'Scanners' (1981) or 'Naked Lunch' (1991), so I can't honestly say whether or not my assertion can be thus extended, but I dare ANYONE to find in horror a finer run than Cronenberg had, in 'Videodrome', 'The Dead Zone', 'The Fly'...and this, 'Dead Ringers'.
David Cronenberg reveals himself to be a total pseud. "Our identities blur together. We are one soul." Give me a break

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