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86

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: 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. (Criterion Collection) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    100
    A masterpiece.
  2. David Cronenberg's gelid masterpiece.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    100
    An instant classic, an Oscar-worthy showcase for Jeremy Irons, and a tightrope ballet over dicey screen material… A subtle movie - and thus a disturbing one. Like “Vertigo,” “The Night of the Hunter,” “Repulsion” and a few others, it finds beauty in morbidity - then nags you to come back for a second dose. [23 Sept 1988]
  4. An astonishing tour de force--especially for Irons, whose sense of nuance is so refined that one can tell in a matter of seconds which twin he is playing in a particular scene.
  5. 88
    It's almost too rich in ideas for its own good: The sense of concentration and proportion isn't there. But it remains an astonishing, magnetic, devastating piece of work. [23 Sept 1988]
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    80
    At times Dead Ringers also tilts out of coherence, with scenes that are dramatically stillborn. But Irons is splendid in both roles, and Cronenberg can create tour-de-force tableaux with his effortless black magic. [26 Sept 1988]
  7. Is this misogyny, as some insist, or a critique of misogyny, as others say? Many moviegoers, grossed out by the film's gothic approach to medical matters, won't watch long enough to find out which is the answer. [30 Sept 1988]

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Jul 15, 2013
    7
    Cronenberg’s unsettling denuding of an identical twins’ inseparability wreaks controversy in its in-depth protrusion of psychiatric delusion and drug abuse, Jeremy Irons, plays the Mantle twins, both gynecologists and live together, even perversely share the same woman. Albeit their mirror-image resemblance, Beverly is the shy boffin while Elliot is the gregarious mouthpiece who is astute and dedicative in taking care of his younger brother’s every need, after meeting a sterile actress (Claire) who has a mutant vagina, Beverly irrationally falls for her and slowly he becomes drug-addictive and paranoid (cause and effect), and even Elliot couldn’t rescue him, a finally unhinged Beverly slips into the abyss and tragedy is irrevocable.

    Irons offers a tour-de-force engagement by splitting himself into two disparate roles, initially one wonders how could we tell them separately, and 5 minutes later, one will realize how distinguishable they are, Beverly is a meek soul, his life orbit is dominated and regulated by Elliot, who is sensible enough to admit they are an entity since neither of them could live without each other, nonetheless, the equilibrium has fatefully been violated by the interloper Claire, Bujold is feisty and emanates a of independence and vulnerability which fatally enchants Beverly and triggers his downhill of the separation procedure. The midstream of the film deals with the decomposition of Beverly’s mental stability has damped down by a slightly tedious script, which is wanting some explicable introductions to the mayhem it has caused, but the coda does save the pathos and it is mesmerizing and gives a sucker punch to the gut.

    Cronenberg’s films often leave me some bitter aftertaste, last year’s COSMOPOLIS (2012, 4/10) is beyond my interpretation, but DEAD RINGERS has its integral breakdown of a psychosexual drama, and fanboys will be exulted to indulge in Cronenberg’s signature chimerical shots (sundering the umbilical cord, the surgery ceremony in vermillion with a set of eerie apparatus) and there are magical contrivances to put two Jeremy Irons present in the same frames (deeming its pre-computer era), accolades should be also awarded to the film’s steadfast emotion liberation, which encroaches inches by inches into the subliminal conscious of its protagonists, a compelling piece of work rests higher on the shelf than Cronenberg’s other lesser creations.
    Expand
  2. Nov 1, 2012
    4
    I'm probably in the minority here, but I felt the bleak, intense, and all too gory "Dead Ringers" is too twisted for its own good. Cronenberg directs with style and it exemplifies his skill as a director, and Irons gives two, distinct and excellent characterizations, but all the gloominess makes it no fun. Expand

See all 12 User Reviews

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