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Dead Again

Kenneth Branagh , Emma Thompson , Kenneth Branagh    DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
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Product Description

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British thespian and sophomore director Kenneth Branagh follows up his adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V with this abrupt change of pace, a slick, stylish thriller evocative of Hitchcock, classic film noir, and gothic shockers. Sporting an exaggerated American accent, Branagh stars as L.A. private eye Mike Church, a hard-boiled but softhearted detective who takes on the case of a mysterious amnesiac (Branagh's then-real-life wife, Emma Thompson). With the help of an offbeat furniture dealer and part-time hypnotist (Derek Jacobi), Grace (as Mike has named her) dredges up her hidden memories. Little do they realize that her recollections are of a past life in L.A.'s recent history, and as she recounts the details of a famous marriage that ended with a notorious murder (played out as black-and-white flashbacks starring Branagh and Thompson), events of the present begin to mirror the past, as if fate were pulling the two into fatal replay of history. Branagh's flashy, flourished direction echoes with an array of '40s and '50s classics and near classics (most notably Hitchcock's Rebecca and Spellbound) and drives the story with an edgy urgency, all the better to distract from some of the sillier elements of the plot. But while this film may not make literal sense in the harsh light of day, in the twilit, shadowy world of classic Hollywood this slyly inventive thriller is a bravura bit of old-fashioned entertainment, done up with modern flair. --Sean Axmaker

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ''Dead Again''A Delicious Whodunit May 7 1999
Format:VHS Tape
I've been a mystery fan for as long as I can remember, and ''Dead Again''was a delicious whodunit which satisfied my cravings, keeping me on the edge of my seat as we rode the dizzying roller coaster between black-and-white flashbacks and present-day color, and if anyone has another mystery video in their collection which they've considered near and dear to their hearts, GET RID OF IT, GET THEE TO A VIDEO STORE, and rent, if not BUY, ''Dead Again''! You won't be disappointed!
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2.0 out of 5 stars not at Hitchcock's level. May 17 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This movie has a good cast but it is not up to the level like the Hitchcock's movies.I like Emma Thompson and the cast in other movies that were good,but I had a hard time getting into the story.If Alfred Hitchcock was to had seen this movie he may be very angry at the writers and director.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Film Noir as only Branagh can do it Jan. 20 2004
Format:DVD
This movie captures the world of Hitchcock and Bogart, in dramatic black and white (with color episodes) in a truly great presentation. Yes, the plot is threadbare, but no more so that those of Hitchcock's best, and irrelevant in any case, as the tension winds tighter and tighter, seeking a violent conclusion. Branagh is his usual self, so completely disappearing into his two roles, both with American accents, that he does not seem the same man who thrilled us in Henry V, delighted us in Much Ado, and took our breath away with Hamlet.
See it on a dark, winter night, with the lights low, and your arms around someone you adore. You will NOT be disappointed!
Mary F. Byrkit
20 January 2004
mfbyrkit@comcast.net
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3.0 out of 5 stars Neuvo Drama Jan. 13 2004
Format:DVD
This movie stands out for a number of reasons. The method of intermixing black and white and color to show when in time we were was done nicely along with some beautiful camera work. The acting and story is excellent which leads one to wonder why the film didn't receive more recognition. Be sure to at least rent this movie. I think you will see that it is worth adding to anyones DVD collection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic Thriller Jan. 13 2004
Format:DVD
The casting for this movie is great. Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson are wonderful as the detective and woman who has no memory. Derek Jacobi is excellent as the hypnotist/antique dealer. Even Robin Williams small part of the Grocer/Ex-Analyst is good. I don't want to give to much away. In a nutshell a lovely lady is being lodged at a church until they can determine her identity. Better that than sending her to a mental institution for her screams of panic and fright that has her propping a chair against her door each night.
When they can no longer take her disruptiveness, the church calls on a detective that will work for gratis. The detective puts out an article in the paper and a two mysterious strangers appear. One to help her recall her identity with hypnosis and another to take advantage of her. When her hypnosis reveals a previous life and a murder, things get very interesting and suspenseful. I have seen this twice on TV and am now planning to buy it. The love story that evolves along with the mystery is very romantic. I think this must be underrated as I am surprised it didn't get more exposure.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Hokey Dec 27 2003
Format:DVD
Considering the high caliber of the British cast (Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Derek Jacobi), DEAD AGAIN is notable for being so corny.
Mike Church (Branagh) is a Los Angeles private gumshoe whose specialty is tracing missing persons. As a favor, he agrees to discover the identity of Grace (Thompson), an amnesiac who climbed over a fence to take refuge in a Catholic orphanage and who suffers nightmares that keep everyone awake from her screaming. Put under hypnosis by mesmerist/antique dealer Franklyn Madison (Jacobi), Grace reveals memories of the relationship between composer Roman Strauss (Branagh again) and his wife Margaret Strauss (Thompson again). In the late 1940s, Roman was convicted of fatally stabbing Margaret in the neck with a scissors, a crime for which he was executed in 1949. Franklyn drags out an old issue of "Life" magazine, and, golly, isn't it amazing how much Mike and Grace physically resemble Roman and Margaret. Subsequently, Mike goes under hypnosis also and ... well, you get the idea. And every chance the director (Branagh yet again) gets, he points the camera at a big, pointy scissors lying on Mike's living room table waiting for some mischief to get into.
At times, I wondered whether DEAD AGAIN was being presented as a comedy, drama, or parody. The too loud music soundtrack favored either the first or last. But, I finally decided on drama because the actors seemed to be taking the plot sufficiently seriously. Then, they overplayed their parts just to show the audience that they were having a jolly good time. (There were shots of a terrified Grace that almost had me laughing for their absurdity.) The result - a mess. There are some decent plot twists at the end, which, if the script could have evolved with more subtlety, would have resulted in an infinitely better suspense film and not such a silly melodrama.
Branagh, Thompson and Jacobi - what were they thinking?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good Dec 1 2003
Format:DVD
I saw this movie on the Sci-Fi channel several years ago, and was quite surprised by the quality of the film. The acting is top-notch, and the story is filled with plenty of twists, but not so that it contradicts itself. Many times, I can spot the twist endings in movies before they're revealed, but the twist in "Dead Again" truly took me by surprise. I dinged it a star for a couple of reasons:
1.) There's questionable editing in one portion of the movie (when Church decides to get hypnotized--it feels like there's a scene missing there.)
2.) The climax. Not that the story wasn't concluded in the appropriate manner, it's just that the camera work is distracting to the main action, what with cutting between Church and Grace and their past lives.
Despite these minor flaws, "Dead Again" is my favorite suspense movie.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense!
Dead Again is a brilliant psychological thriller! It's riveting and breathtakingly suspenseful from start to finish, directed with style by Kenneth Branagh. Read more
Published on June 19 2003 by Mark Twain
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Branagh's best
Dead Again was my first exposure to both Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, and it is a film that I am very fond of. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2003 by Sren Thomsen
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Branagh's best
Dead Again was my first exposure to both Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, and it is a film that I am very fond of. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2003 by Sren Thomsen
4.0 out of 5 stars Classy, Noir-ish, Stylish, and Very Memorable
Although he received tremendous praise for his memorable film production of Shakespeare's HENRY V, DEAD AGAIN was the film that really introduced actor/director Kenneth Branagh to... Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2003 by Gary F. Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic film noir melodrama
Buy into the high theatricality of Branagh's film noir melodrama and you'll have a ball with this picture. Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2003 by Steven Reynolds
4.0 out of 5 stars Twisted Tale of Love and Hate
Suspenseful drama with many twists and turns. Surprise ending pulls it all together. Great acting by Kenneth Branagh. Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2002 by Susan D. Browne
4.0 out of 5 stars Open Your Eyes, er...Grace?
DEAD AGAIN is a highly underrated suspense/thriller from 1991 that was also the inspiration for Dream Theater's 1999 masterpiece SCENES FROM A MEMORY. Read more
Published on July 22 2002 by A.F.
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