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Dead Ringers 1988 ****

For a director most closely associated with body horror, Canada’s David Cronenberg has had some late success with straight thrillers like A History of Violence, Spider and Eastern Promises. Coming after the excess of of Shivers, Scanners and The Fly, Dead Ringers is a transitional film, a thoughtful drama featuring Jeremy Irons as twin gynecologists Beverly and Elliot Mantle. Despite the intimate nature of their work, the twins find that they’re able to fool clients and associates as to which twin is which, but it’s the twins themselves that prove to be the victims of the deception. Cronenberg’s chilly film does have one visceral dream sequence, but generally focuses with genuine gravity of the mysteries of identity, with Irons sensational in his subtle differentiation of the twins.

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