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Dead Ringers (1988)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 23,806 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 105 user | 78 critic | 15 from Metacritic.com

Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.

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Title: Dead Ringers (1988)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Claire Niveau (as Genevieve Bujold)
...
Cary (as Heidi Von Palleske)
Barbara Gordon ...
Danuta
...
Laura
...
Wolleck / Anders Wolleck
Nick Nichols ...
Leo
Lynne Cormack ...
Arlene
Damir Andrei ...
Birchall
Miriam Newhouse ...
Mrs. Bookman
David Hughes ...
Superintendent
Richard W. Farrell ...
Dean of Medicine (as Richard Farrell)
Warren Davis ...
Anatomy Class Supervisor
Jonathan Haley ...
Beverly, Age 9
Nicholas Haley ...
Elliot, Age 9
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Storyline

The Mantle brothers are both doctors - both gynecologists - and identical twins. Mentally however, one of them is more confident than the other, and always manages to seduce the women he meets. When he's tired of his current partner, she is passed on to the other brother - without her knowing. Everything runs smoothly, until an actress visits their clinic, and the shy brother is the first to fall in love. Will they be able to 'share' her ? Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Two bodies. Two minds. One soul. Separation can be a terrifying thing.

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

23 September 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pacto de amor  »

Box Office

Gross:

$9,134,733 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 25 Most Dangerous Movies". See more »

Goofs

In a scene dated 1954, the twins seen are playing with The Visible Woman, Revell toy company's biological model of a woman that was not marketed until at least five years later. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Elliot, Age 9: You've heard about sex...
Beverly, Age 9: Sure I have.
Elliot, Age 9: Well I've discovered why sex is.
Beverly, Age 9: You have? Fantastic.
Raffaella: It's because humans don't live under water.
Beverly, Age 9: I don't get it.
Elliot, Age 9: Well, fish don't need sex because they just lay the eggs and fertilize them in the water. Humans can't do that because they don't live in the water. They have to - internalize the water. Therefore we have sex.
Beverly, Age 9: So you mean humans would have sex if they lived in the water?
Elliot, Age 9: Well they'd have a kind of sex. The kind where you wouldn't ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Requiem for a Dream (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

In the Still of the Night (I'll Remember)
Performed by The Five Satins
under license from Arista Records, Inc.
Copyrighted by Llee Corp.
Composed by Fred Parris
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A beautiful Masterpiece
26 October 2006 | by (Mexico) – See all my reviews

After a very successful career exploring the physical horrors in a series of excellent films (that culminates in the awesome remake of "The Fly"), Canadian director David Cronenberg made another step up in the development of his personal style of film-making, by moving to the field of psychology with a suspense/thriller that while less visceral and graphic than his previous films, it's no less horrific and captivating: "Dead Ringers". While at first sight this film seems like a departure, it's simply the logic evolution of a style that reaches maturity without forgetting its origins. Just as "The Fly" can be seen as the grandiose closure of an era, "Dead Ringers" is the glorious beginning of a new stage.

Beverly and Elliot Mantle (both played by Jeremy Irons) are identical twins that from birth have been so close. So close that they have studied the same profession, work together as gynecologists and literally share everything (including lovers) between them. This symbiotic relationship begins to shatter when a new patient, actress Claire Niveau (Geneviève Bujold), enters in their life. The problem? Beverly, who has always been the shy, introverted one of the two, has fallen in love with her, and doesn't see to be too happy with the idea of sharing with his brother anymore. As the tag-line reads, "Separation Can Be A Terrifying Thing".

Loosely based on Bari Wood and Jack Geasland's book "Twins" (which was also loosely based on a strange, real-life case), the plot at first sounds like something out of a typical made for TV drama; however, "Dead Ringers" is still a Cronenberg film and so it is still full of the themes that the famed director loves. Taking the themes of identity and the duality of identity as a start point, Cronenberg tells the story of a perfect organism made out of two persons. The Mantle brothers are physically two men, but psychologically they work as one, and the "invasion" that Claire means in their life is like a viral infection that begins to corrode the brothers from the inside.

With a perfectly developed script, Cronenberg details the effects of this "infection" with surgical precision, and while the film is not as violently graphic as his previous efforts, it is by no means less disturbing. This progression to a more psychological exploration of horror (see first in "Videodrome" and "The Dead Zone") is marked by a subtler cinematography, that with a cold, sterile setting gives life to the horrors unleashed by the breakdown of the brothers. In simple words, "Dead Ringers" is a movie that mixes perfectly horror, drama and romance in ways that few films dare to attempt. This is the masterpiece that would lead the way to Cronenberg's more psychological projects like "M. Butterlfy", "Crash" or "Spider".

While Cronenberg's direction is outstanding, the film wouldn't be the same without the talent of Jeremy Irons as the two main characters. In the difficult role of giving life to two different yet similar men, Irons succeeds with amazing results delivering what probably is his best performance in his career. As Beverly he is shy, introverted and almost charming; while as Elliot he becomes this manipulative smooth-talker who feels his balance threatened by the inclusion of Claire in their lives. While certainly is Irons who receives most of the praise, the films is also benefited by Geneviève Bujold's acting as Claire. Her performance is very natural and fresh, showing truly a believable chemistry with Irons as her character enters the private world of the Mantle brothers.

Personally, I think "Dead Ringers" is a flawless job by an artist reaching maturity; however, I can understand why some would have troubles with it. The main problem is definitely that horror fans expecting something like "The Brood" or "The Fly" won't find a lot of that graphic horror here, but at the same time, people expecting a normal romance-drama film will find really disturbing scenes. It's really hard to approach "Dead Ringers" that way, so my best advice would be to go with an open mind to discover one of the most amazing films of the 80s.

"Dead Ringers" has become a new favorite of mine, due to it's interesting complex plot and the subtle classy direction by Cronenberg. It's an unusual film by him, but no less amazing, as it has his trademark all over the place. Probably one of the most beautiful horror films ever made, "Dead Ringers" is a timeless masterpiece. 10/10


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