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Not my favorite Cronenberg. I like his earlier, crazier, work a lot more. But it's hard to not admit that he has achieved here a level of storytelling, maturity and gravitas he had not reached before. I just wished the final execution had been a bit "crazier".
Dead Ringers is at the same time engrossing and frustrating. A master class in filming technique and acting, it is truly gorgeous to look at and watch unfold. It is right up Cronenberg’s alley with 2 identical twins, both maverick obstetricians, who fall in love with a woman with a trifurcated cervix. This is a love triangle like you have never seen. It gets perverse (in classic Cronenberg way), and ends in a bloody tragedy. It is anchored by an award-level performance from Jeremy Irons, executed way before digital technology would allow David Fincher to fool the world with the Winklevoss brothers in The Social Network.
Yet, it is frustrating somehow. This film is Cronenberg at his most clinically cold: it feels too controlled, too restrained at times. Only 2 years before had The Fly made many audiences weep. At the end of this film, you stand by as a tragedy unfolds, but it feels like a car accident in slow motion. This happens a lot with directors who are often criticized for being too brash or too gimmicky. They then struggle to remain true to themselves while remaining more controlled and mainstream in some way.
Again, this film is absolutely incredible, but sandwiched between The Fly and Naked Lunch, it lacks some pop. I know this is not a popular opinion.
- Laurent Hasson