Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.


"It's not hard to rave about this film." - Margaret Pomeranz

"I would imagine it's worse for women to watch."- David Stratton


About a year ago, word was out that North American film audiences were ready for some serious films, something they could get their teeth into. Well they was Talk Radio last week, and now there's Dead Ringers. This is another disturbing film. It's about a pair of identical twins, Elliot and Beverly, both played by Jeremy Irons, who are gynecologists. They run a plush fertility clinic for women. One of their patients is Claire, Geneviève Bujold, who has a deformed uterus, and as a result can't have children. Elliott and Beverly have always shared things, shared people, shared women, and they share Claire, who thinks she's merely having an affair with Beverly. Beverly's the sweet one; Elliott, not so sweet. When Claire discovers the deception, she's livid and breaks away from both of them. Beverly's heart-broken, Elliott's relieved. Claire has upset the balance and when she and Beverly get together again the two men are forced to come to term with what their relationship is all about and it's terribly, terribly symbiotic. It seems that whatever is imbibed by one immediately enters the bloodstream of the other. It also seems that drugs are an occupational hazard of both the acting and medical professions. 

Apart from the sheer dazzling technical skill of combining the two performances of Jeremy Irons, you have to admire the performances themselves, it's very easy to tell which twin is which, and Genevieve Bujold is wonderfully wanton and beautiful, I loved her in this film. Canadian director David Cronenberg co-wrote Dead Ringers, which he based on the book 'Twins' by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland, which in turn was inspired by an actual event. He brings cool, clinical blue tones to the film except for the shocking red of the operating theatre sequences. Cronenberg's a confrontational filmmaker: he doesn't want his films to wash over an audience, he wants audiences to sit up and take notice, so there are some fairly heavy scenes in Dead Ringers. It's not hard to rave about this film because it's so well done, and it's so different, but there's something at the back of my head that says this is a surface film with dark, untapped undertones. Wombs that produce mutant people that can only be righted by mutant instruments. Not a film for the faint-hearted.


Watch 'Dead Ringers'

Thursday 7 October, 12:00am on SBS VICELAND / Streaming after at SBS On Demand

Canada, USA, 1988
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Language: English
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Jeremy Irons, Genevieve Bujold

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1 hour 55 min
In Cinemas 23 September 1988,