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Mike Church is a Los Angeles private detective who specializes in finding missing persons. He takes on the case of a mute woman who is suffering from a total amnesia and doesn't even know her name. She keeps having nightmares involving the murder of a pianist, Margaret, by her husband Roman Strauss in the late 1940s. In an attempt to solve the mystery about her identity and her nightmares, Church accepts the help of an antiquary who arrives to offer his services as a hypnotist. The hypnosis sessions will soon begin to reveal some surprises. Written by
Sami Al-Taher <email@example.com>
Dead Again is categorized as Mystery / Romance / Thriller and it does very well in all three categories. It begins as a mystery, develops into a romance and ends up very thrilling. It is also Gothic, film noir, sometimes melodramatic and often humorous: an unusual mix that really works. The opening credits show 1948 news stories about symphony conductor, Roman Strauss (Kenneth Branagh), who was executed for murdering his wife, Margaret (Emma Thompson). The film was in Black and White. Then the film switches to the present and to colour and we find Emma Thompson in a Catholics boys' home, mute and suffering from nightmares and amnesia. The priest in charge elicits free help from Mike Church (Kenneth Branagh), a private detective who specializes in missing persons and was brought up in that home. "Grace" (a name that she and Mike use because she does not know her real name) ends up staying with Mike while he tries to sort things out. An advertisement brings Franklyn Madson (Derek Jacobi), who offers to discover her past through hypnotic regression. He ends up regressing her into a past life. At this point, if one does not believe in reincarnation, as Mike Church did not, then one can add Fantasy to the list of the film's categories; it does very well in that category also.
As fate would have it, Mike and Grace grow closer and fall in love, an event that is undoubtedly made more convincing by the fact that Branagh and Watson were happily married at the time that the film was made. The style of the modern romance contrasts with the melodrama of the 1940's marriage, in which Roman gives Margaret an anklet and says, "The man I bought it from explained to me that when a husband gives this to his wife, they become two halves of the same person. Nothing can separate them, not even death." That idea helped to clarify the most surprising plot twist of all, one that is disclosed visually. The plot is one of the cleverest mystery plots that I have witnessed. One is never sure of what to think. Did Roman kill Margaret? If not then who did? Many look suspicious. What is the relationship between the past lovers, Roman and Margaret, and the present lovers, Mike and Grace? The plot has many twists and turns, all of which appear to be realistic. Clues drop like rain. There are many strong roles and the acting is excellent throughout. Many actors have roles in both stories.
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