Dead Ringers

Dead Ringers

5.0 1
Director: David Cronenberg

Cast: David Cronenberg, Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske


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Criterion's disc of Dead Ringers isn't as technically stunning as their more recent output but offers enough quality extras to make it worthwhile for David Cronenberg enthusiasts. The letterboxed transfer serves up the film's dark color palette in style but suffers from occasional moments of digital noise that make it less-than-perfect. The Dolby SurroundSee more details below


Criterion's disc of Dead Ringers isn't as technically stunning as their more recent output but offers enough quality extras to make it worthwhile for David Cronenberg enthusiasts. The letterboxed transfer serves up the film's dark color palette in style but suffers from occasional moments of digital noise that make it less-than-perfect. The Dolby Surround soundtrack doesn't offer the directionality and full-bodied sound one associates with this format, delivering a soundtrack that is free of distortion but sadly lacking in excitement and detail. Thankfully, this mediocre transfer is atoned for with a solid set of supplements. First up is an informative commentary track that includes Cronenberg, actor Jeremy Irons, and several above-the-line crew members. Overall, the track is as dry and intellectual as one might expect for a film like Dead Ringers but the comments of the various participants are skillfully edited to create a seamless flow of information that offers plenty of intriguing insights into the many technical challenges involved in turning one actor into a set of twins. There are also extensive still galleries that cover everything from the bizarre medical tools created for the film to a cross-section of artwork created by Cronenberg himself (there are even designs for an unused title sequence). The package is rounded out with an EPK that amusingly reveals how difficult it was to sell this film. All in all, this edition of Dead Ringers lacks the technical pizzazz that infuses the best special edition DVDs but remains worthwhile for Cronenberg fans thanks to its quality supplements.Two twin brothers, both renowned gynecologists, descend into madness after becoming romantically involved with the same woman in this disturbing, horrific drama. Jeremy Irons delivers a bravura performance as both Beverly and Elliot Mantle, Toronto-based surgeons who operate an exclusive gynecological clinic and share a reputation as brilliant innovators. They also share lovers, as the more aggressive, confident Elliott seduces women and later secretly allows the shier, more intellectual Beverly to reap the benefits. This arrangement is disturbed when Beverly falls in love with their newest conquest, Claire Niveau (Genevieve Bujold), a famous actress with an unusual gynecological deformity. Beverly's relationship with the hard-living Claire leads to him to turn away from Elliot and begin a dangerous involvement with drugs and alcohol. Elliot senses his brother's rapid decline into addiction and paranoia and attempts to save him, only to start falling victim to the same urges. Director David Cronenberg adapted the loosely fact-based tale to his own creepy purposes, tapping into primal fears regarding the uncanniness of twins and male sexual panic. His notorious gore was used sparingly here, however, with the film's most disturbing moments coming through suggestion, as in the display of a group of terrifying surgical instruments created by Beverly in his madness. Cronenberg's expertise with special effects proves crucial, however, as he and his regular cinematographer Peter Suschitzsky seamlessly combine Irons' two performances in a manner unrivalled by any previous depiction of twins. This visual achievement is more than matched by Irons, who delivers what may be his career performance, delineating the twins' differences and similarities and embodying their collapse in frighteningly believable fashion. The subject matter and chilly tone may be too intense for some viewers, but the brilliant central performance and intellectually provocative approach will prove thoroughly absorbing for others.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
David Cronenberg focussed his obsession with the grotesque inward with Dead Ringers. Unlike his previous efforts, the director is more interested in the emotional defects of his characters as opposed to their physical manifestations of deviance. The clinical, disquieting tone is somewhat surprising from a director who is considered something of an auteur of vulgarity, not only because of the bizarre qualities of his films, but also because of his tendency to push the boundaries of special effects. Too often, his early work annoys because the effects are deliberately cultish and preposterous (a quality he tempered for his mainstream remake of The Fly). In Dead Ringers, however, he uses an altogether more subtle effect, making twins out of lead Jeremy Irons though computer-aided split screen; the technique has since become much more widespread. Irons' distinguished performance (or rather, performances) makes sure that the technique isn't just a gimmick. Irons won several critics' prizes for his work in the film; many feel the actor should have been nominated for an Oscar as well.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital, stereo]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jeremy Irons Beverly Mantle,Elliot Mantle
Geneviève Bujold Claire Niveau
Heidi von Palleske Cary
Barbara Gordon Danuta
Shirley Douglas Laura
Stephen Lack Andrers Wolleck
Murray Chuchley Assisting Surgeon
Denise McLeod Art Gallery Lady
Rina Polley Soap Opera Character
Nicholas Rice M.C.
Nick Nichols Leo
Lynne Cormack Arlene
Damir Andrei Birchall
Miriam Newhouse Mrs. Bookman
David Hughes Superintendent
Richard W. Farrell Dean of Medicine
Warren Davis Anatomy Class Supervisor
Jonathan Haley Beverly, Age 9
Nicholas Haley Elliot, Age 9
Marsha Moreau Raffaella
Denis Akiyama Pharmacist
Dee McCafferty Surgeon
Susan Markle Operating Room Nurse
Jane Luk Lecture Hall Nurse
Tita Trevisan Furniture Salesman
Jacqueline Hennessy Escort Twin Coral
Jill Hennessy Escort Twin Mimsy
David Walden Director
Liliane Stillwell Wardrobe Person
Bob Bainborough Mr. Glaser
Nick Rice MC
Joe Matheson Sean
Hadley Kay Delivery Boy
Cynthia Eastman Sobbing Woman
Nora Colpman Mrs. Randall
Madeleine Atkinson Soap Opera Character
John Bayliss Performance Double
Graham Evans Picture Double

Technical Credits
David Cronenberg Director,Co-producer,Screenwriter
Carol Baum Executive Producer
John Board Associate Producer
Deirdre Bowen Casting
Marc Boyman Co-producer
Terry Burke Sound Editor
Richard Cadger Sound Editor
Denise Cronenberg Costumes/Costume Designer
Bryan Day Sound/Sound Designer
David Evans Sound Editor
Elinor Rose Galbraith Set Decoration/Design
David Giammarco Sound Editor
Wayne Griffin Sound Editor
Shonagh Jabour Makeup
James McAteer Art Director
Andy Nelson Sound/Sound Designer
Fred Parris Songwriter
Joe Roth Producer
Ronald Sanders Editor
Howard Shore Score Composer
Gordon J. Smith Special Effects
Norman Snider Screenwriter
Carol Spier Production Designer
Peter Suschitzky Cinematographer
Sylvio Tabet Executive Producer
Steve Weslak Editor
Don White Sound/Sound Designer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
   Play the movie
         Opening title design
         The street
         The first twinning shot
         Jeremy Irons
         Exotic creatures in an aquarium
         "It's all acting"
         Set design
         "He wasn't displaying his wares"
         The famous operating room scene
         The most complicated twinning shot
         Claire's apartment
         A different environment
         The comic possibilities
         The beginning of the end
         Public humiliation
         Ménage à trois
         The mind/body split
         The metaphor of Siamese twins
         A love story between three people
         The red operating gowns
         The make-up trailer
         "The technical problems can usually be solved"
         Dolly shot and decay
         A good schizophrenic
         Pop music
         Double trouble
         Over the edge
         Stephen Lack
         High priests of gynecology
         The medical establishment
         "Biology might well be destiny"
         Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
         Film acting
         Designing the instruments
         Art, science and medicine
         Unbearable closeness
         "Can't one of the twins survive?"
         "Twin Docs Found Dead in Posh Pad"
   "The Strange Object's of David Cronenberg's Desire"
      Original Designs For The Opening Credit Sequence
      "Mathmatics In Metal"
      "Instruments For Operating On Mutant Women"
   Twinning effects
      Hospital Hallway Shot
         Play Clip
      Birthday Celebration
         Play Clip
      Telephone Call
         Play Clip
      In The Closet
         Play Clip
      Office Shuffle
         Play Clip
      Final Tableau
         Play Clip
   Color bars

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