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Dead Ringers... dead spooky...
Dead Ringers (DVD)
Member Name: Cleggy
Dead Ringers (DVD)
Date: 24/09/01, updated on 24/09/01 (155 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap, Jeremy Irons performances, Widescreen
Disadvantages: NO DVD extras whatsoever, non anamorphic, Cronenberg films aren't to everyone's taste and this is no exception.
Great film, shame about the DVD...
Dead Ringers is a brilliant David Cronenberg film that features brilliant performances from Jeremy Irons as the Mantle twins (Elliot and Beverly).
Without going into too much detail about the film (this is a DVD opinion after all) the twins are gynaecologists with a great reputation building up a successful private practice and academic/research career.
Of course that alone wouldn't make for a very interesting movie, let alone an interesting David Cronenberg one, so what we have here is a great story about identity issues, personality crises, drug abuse, the merging of the mechanic with the organic - all the normal ingredients you get in a Cronenberg film.
Beverly is the milder of the twins, with Elliot the more forceful one - but they share everything, and are happy playing each other when out at dinner parties, giving speeches, presenting research, etc. When Beverly falls in love with famous actress Claire Nouveaux things start to go wrong for the brothers. Claire doesn't react too happily to the news that she's been seeing (and I mean 'seeing' in every sense of the word..) two identical twins rather than one person, she ends the relationship, they get reconciled, but while she is away filming Beverly becomes paranoid that Claire is having an affair and it all goes rapidly downhill...
Drug abuse sets in, he loses the plot, their business suffers, he invents some rather bizarre surgical instruments (here's where the regular organic/mechanic theme comes in - not as obvious as the weapons in eXistenZ but still spooky), he brings his brother down with him, and it all ends.., well, you're not expecting happily ever after are you?
That's too quick and doesn't do the film justice but I don't want to give anything away and besides I should be talking about the DVD...
...which is as basic as DVD releases get, just about. Fortunate
ly it is in widescreen and they have put it on one side of a disc but other than that forget it, no extras whatsoever. No insight into the making of the film, no comments from director or actors, not even a trailer.
This is a real shame - this is a great film and I would be really interested in watching some supplementary material. Jeremy Irons plays the twins magnificently - with subtle differences in voice, posture, etc. It would have been good to get some insight from Mr Irons as to how he pulled it off, and how he acted with 'himself' in this way.
They trick you with a 'Trailer' button on the main menu but it is only a 30 second advert about the Carlton Silver DVD range of films.
The widescreen print is in 2.35 to 1 ratio but isn't presented anamorphically. Colours seemed a little pale and washed out in places, and the picture quality wasn't consistent. This could be my setup or a dodgy connection but I haven't noticed it on other films. Of course with a film like this it could well be intended to be drab and downbeat, but there are sections of the film that are vibrant (the eery red outfits of the surgeons for example) that should come across much better on DVD than they do here.
Sound wise you do get a Dolby Digital soundtrack - but I don't have sufficient equipment to test it out. The standard stereo soundtrack is fine - mainly dialogue, obviously, but there is a good background score by Howard Shore.
This DVD is a budget release on the Carlton label, so despite everything at least it is less than a tenner. Having said that I'd rather pay a few pounds more if I knew I was getting an anamorphic picture and some decent extras.
The film is superb, but probably not to everyone's tastes. It is spooky, it is shocking, that''s what you kind of expect from Cronenberg. Irons performances are superb.
4 and a half out of five for the film but I
9;m knocking that down to a 3 overall due to poor DVD features - and maybe that is being too generous.