- Canadian Essential: Chosen by the Amazon.ca editors as one of the 50 Canadian Essentials in DVD.
Dead Ringers (The Criterion Collection) [Import]
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In Dead Ringers, David Cronenberg tells the chilling story of identical twin gynecologists-suave Elliot and sensitive Beverly, bipolar sides of one personality-who share the same practice, the same apartment, the same women. When a new patient, glamorous actress Claire Niveau, challenges their eerie bond, they descend into a whirlpool of sexual confusion, drugs, and madness. Jeremy Irons' tour-de-force performance-as both twins-raises disturbing questions about the nature of personal identity.
Like many other films by Canadian director David Cronenberg (especially Crash), Dead Ringers presents the cinematic and psychological equivalent of an automobile accident--you dare not look, but you can't turn away. The film marked a directorial breakthrough for Cronenberg, who was able to continue some of the themes explored in his earlier horror films while graduating to a higher, more critically "respectable" level of artistic sophistication. The film is loosely based, amazingly enough, on a true story about twin gynecologists who routinely traded each others' identities, lives and even lovers. Utilizing innovative split-screen technology (years before computer manipulation made such trickery much easier), the film stars Jeremy Irons in flawless dual roles as the identical brothers Beverly and Elliot Mantle. Their ability to instantly switch identities leads them to a shared relationship with a well-known actress (Genevieve Bujold) and, ultimately, a physical and psychological tailspin that sends them both to the brink of madness and death. The scenario suggests that both men are halves of a whole, and that one cannot exist without the other. But when Beverly pursues a kinky, drug-addicted affair with the actress, his more self-controlled brother is helpless to prevent their mutual decline. In this way Dead Ringers becomes a fascinating and stylistically clinical study of duality, and Cronenberg doesn't shy away from the dark and unpleasant aspects of the story. (One look at the movie's display of bizarre gynecological instruments and you'll know why women find this film particularly--and unforgettably--disturbing.) The Criterion Collection DVD includes illuminating commentary by Cronenberg, Irons, production designer Carol Spier, and others; extensive production information; interviews with the principal cast; and a detailed examination of the film's groundbreaking use of invisible special effects. --Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
Another DVD released in Europe also licensed the same extras, but it's missing an essay and uses a different transfer with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. THIS DVD, which seems to be only available in Canada, uses the director's PREFERRED aspect ratio of 1.66:1, and is complete, almost an exact duplicate of the original Criterion Collection DVD in terms of content.
This is a bit more expensive than other DVD's, but a bit cheaper than the original Criterion Collection DVD, which is out-of-print and fetches 40+ U.S. dollars on ebay. Definitely worth buying if you love this picture, which is Croenberg's best work.
This film based on the book "Twins" by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland, which is based loosely on a true story.
The plot is simple 2 identical twin brothers who are gynocologists and share the same office, home, and patients.
They have a new patient with a very unusual gynocological anomaly. They fall in love with her and later begin to develop a major problem.
What is most impressive is the fact that Jeremy Irons played both brothers. The scenes where they are together was filmed with breathtaking split screen imagery and motion control cameras. The action is completly seamless very impressive for its time. The criterion DVD has special "making of" clips and show how difficult it was to film this action. While not mentioned in the features, I would assume that the continuity supervisor probably had a very important role on the set.
The film also stars French-Canadian actress Geneviève Bujold who was originally slated to play Captain Janeway on Star Trek Voyager, but left after a day and a half of filming.
The DVD has additional special features with excellent audio commentary by selected cast and crew.
While some scenes in this film may be disturbing to some viewers, the "twinning" special effects are not to be missed!
Cronenberg maintained his artistic integrity with this film (and has since). While most directors would water themselves down after a blockbuster (1986's The Fly), Cronenberg moved onto a movie about twin gynaecologists (which is pretty risky in itself) and their descent into insanity. It is the beginning of the more internalised works by Cronenberg, though there are still some horror elements (the Giger-esque instruments for operating on mutant women and the dream sequence).
If you enjoy Dead Ringers, be sure to check out Videodrome and his 2002 film Spider, and if you make it that far, move onto Naked Lunch and Crash.
Directed by David Cronenberg (Shivers, Videodrome, The Fly) made a chilling, disturbing drama-which is actually based on a true story. Irons is perfectly effectively cast as the lead. This is Cronenberg most unique film. Cronenberg won Best Director and Irons won Best Actor for the Genie Awards, which is the Canadian Oscar. Also winner of Best Achievement in Art Direction/Production Design:Carol Spier. Best Achievement in Cinematography:Peter Suschitzsky. Best Achievement in Editing:Ronald Sanders. Best Achievement in Sound:Don White, Andy Wilson & Bryan Day. Best Achievement in Sound Editing:Terry Burke, Richard Cadger, Dean Giammarco, Wayne Griffin & David Evens. Best Adapted Screenplay by Cronenberg & Norman Snider. Best Motion Picture by Cronenberg and Marc Boyman. Best Original Song by Andy Nelson. Best Original Score by Howard Shore. Genie Nominations for also Best Achievement in Costume Design:Denise Cronenberg and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:Bujold. DVD's has an clean non-anamorphic Widescreen (1.66:1) transfer and an fine Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Sound. DVD has an commentary track by the filmmakers and cast, Behind the Scenes featurette, trailers and more. This is a stunning unsetting chiller. Grade:A+.
David Cronenberg takes us deep into the ever-festering and drug-distorted world of Identical Twin Insanity - this time based on fact! JEREMY IRONS provides the disturbing double-trouble with appropriate brilliance as Doctors Beverly and Elliot Mantle - the dead-ringer gynecologists. [You know the story - # 1 would start the exam, leave - # 2 would enter, continue the exam - and the patient? Totally oblivious of the switch! Nasty, very nasty ...]
GENEVIEVE BUJOLD as the Caustic Star, provides the catalist. A superb performance as the woman who eventually unhinges the twins.
It's a cool, disturbing movie, especially considering the trust one has to place in physicians, as They say "We practise medicine". "Practise???"
Nasty moment? Those 'specially designed' instruments - for 'the mutated'. It's close to Kafka - leaving metamorphosis to the imagination.
A superlative performance by Mr. Irons - who went on to "Reversal Of Fortune" [Award Winnner], another chill!
More 'punishment'? Try "Requiem for a Dream"
Most recent customer reviews
Jeremy Irons is indeed brilliant in this. And I think kudos should go to Genevieve Bujold as well, for the realization of literally being 'two timed'. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Johnny Rocker
An absolutely fantastic movie. Compelling and unique drama with a powerful dual performance by Jeremy Irons. Genevieve Bujold was okay. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Phil
Arrived unscathed and on time. Really enjoyed this one; typical Cronenberg flick, kind of weird but also good. Jeremy Irons was fantastic in it. Thanks for the flick!Published 20 months ago by ilikemovies
I'm kinda new to Cronenberg only previously seeing "Videodrome" and loving the hell out of it. Same goes for Dead Ringers. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2005 by Antonio Giusto
the criterion collection is a superb presentation of david cronenbergs masterwork; dead ringers.
this film stands with crash, rabid, the brood, and spider as essential... Read more
Maybe it's the combined effect of having two Jeremy Irons for the price of one, but I believe -and Irons has been quoted to the same effect- that this is the finest work this fine... Read morePublished on April 24 2004 by Stephen Conn
I've seen this movie twice, one at 12 years and another when I was 17 ...God, this movie is as depressive as the seconal. Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2004 by Yuri Huitron Alvarado
This movie deserves no stars (ok, maybe one because it wasn't produced on super 8). I saw it the week it was originally released in the theaters. Read morePublished on Jan. 11 2004
Disturbing? Not one bit. Haunting? Yeah right. Slow? Absolutely. Cronenberg usually impresses me, but with Dead Ringers, he bored the hell outta me. Read morePublished on Nov. 25 2003
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