Dead Again - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dead Again Reviews

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½ July 6, 2016
By far, my favourite film of Branagh's that he's directed. A solid mystery/thriller--the kind that's not done enough these days IMHO. Though he's certainly diversified his oeuvre recently, what with Disney remakes and even superhero films, I wish he had done a lot more like this one, rather than, high-quality as they are, a metric tonne of yet-more Shakespearean adaptations.
½ July 6, 2016
By far, my favourite film of Branagh's that he's directed. A solid mystery/thriller--the kind that's not done enough these days IMHO. Though he's certainly diversified his oeuvre recently, what with Disney remakes and even superhero films, I wish he had done a lot more like this one, rather than, high-quality as they are, a metric tonne of yet-more Shakespearean adaptations.
April 21, 2016
"Dead Again," finds actor/director extraordinaire Kenneth Branagh venturing from the world of Shakespeare into the dark, musty corners of the Hitchcockian noir - and with great success. "Dead Again" is a well-structured and engaging mystery with stellar camerawork and some truly magnetic chemistry between the actors involved. Add a dash of cheese and a surprisingly badass Robin Williams cameo and you have the makings of a truly memorable cinematic experience.
September 21, 2015
A perfect pulp mystery to figure out. One of my favorite non-block buster movies from the 80's/90's. Reminiscent of Shattered. If you like a movie to figure out, this is perfect.
August 15, 2015
just recently re-watched this-I forgot how handsome/hot Andy Garcia was back in the day.
July 17, 2015
Filled with thrilling plot twists and strong writing that's well-acted by it's stars, Dead Again is another notably impressive piece of work from Branagh's filmography.
May 3, 2015
Rather remarkable neo-noir film. Fantastic screenplay. The only negative thing I have to say is that the final 10 minutes are rather silly.
½ April 29, 2015
Alice fell into a hole the length of a half-marathon and found herself in a land of hookah smoking caterpillars and prompt rabbits. We didn't ask any questions as she sauntered around Wonderland; we let her do the talking, while we, drink in hand, sat back and hoped she would get into enough trouble to provide for a hoot of a story. We couldn't put ourselves in her shoes -- no one has had a tea party with a zany hat enthusiast (except maybe Liza Minnelli or some other unpredictable broad) -- but we were more than willing to act as a sidekick during her so-called journey.
Kenneth Branagh, more or less, asks us to do the same thing with "Dead Again", a mystery/thriller/fantasy/romance/film noir (yes, it is comprised of that many genres) that spirals into the realms of lustrous cinema, defying explanation. This isn't the kind of movie that hits you over the head with its pragmatism, though; it is, rather, a sweeper in the same category of a Michael Curtiz sudser. You lose yourself in its reverie. Branagh has done something highly original here, even if it does eventually get trapped within the stickiness of its many convulsions. It takes the best components of a 1940s melodrama, the finest ingredients of a neo-noir, and concocts something simultaneously retro and modern. The results travel back and forth between head-scratching and engrossing, but remaining is Branagh's knowing eye for film, and what makes it so magical in the first place.
"Dead Again" introduces itself with a slap and a bang of headlines. Vintage newspapers are slammed in our faces, enthusiastically announcing the murder of Margaret Strauss (Emma Thompson), a prominent concert pianist. The world has decided that her husband, composer Roman Strauss (Branagh), is guilty, and, without missing a beat, grabs him by the hand and leads him to the electric chair. If this isn't a tragic romance, then I don't know what is. The film then transitions into a black-and-white setting, moments before Strauss's death; we think we're about to get a full-blooded noir homage of "The Man Who Wasn't There" dedication, but not quite.
Just as things are about to get interesting, bang!: the sensibilities of modern filmmaking techniques fill the screen. The jump from 1948 to 1991 is startling; but even more startling are the characters we come to meet. One is an amnesiac named Grace (Thompson); the other is a private detective, Mike Church (Branagh). And no, these fictional entities are not merely the result of prominent actors playing dual roles. Mike is called by a friend to try to help Grace figure out her true identity -- but things, expectedly, turn out to be much more complicated than ever expected. It seems that Grace can only recall the details of Margaret Strauss's life, and Mike, as realistic as he is, is beginning to experience similar sensations.
They enlist the help of an eccentric hypnotist (Derek Jacobi) who doubles as an antique dealer. Throughout their many encounters, it becomes abundantly clear that Mike and Grace may very well be the reincarnations of the doomed Strauss's; and romance, along with danger, are following close behind.
"Dead Again" is borderline ludicrous, but doubts arrive long after the film is over; we're kept too busy to notice a flaw. Unlike Branagh's many other movies, this is not a film only for the intellectual crowd. It is also for those who are (a) looking for a glorious romantic thriller, or (b) are huge fans of classic cinema. It's popcorn entertaining, easy to absorb and hard to dislike. Our brains are buzzing, our hearts pounding with the promise of romance, suspense. Branagh takes a number of risks (how about that unexpected ending?), considering he photographs every Strauss flashback in magnificent black-and-white and fancies the tracking shot techniques of Hitchcock. Most pay off; the twists are what weaken the film, not its cinematic techniques.
But I suppose I'm only nitpicking. One shouldn't complain about such things when talking about a movie that places reincarnation at its front-and-center. Fact is, Thompson and Branagh are wonderful together (they were husband and wife during filming, after all), and "Dead Again" is ingenious in its aesthetic and conception. It doesn't go as deep as one would hope, turning out to be much simpler than originally expected (considering its many complications). But this is grand escapism that ties a cherry knot in our minds and leaves us intrigued.
½ April 1, 2015
Tale in a tale thriller that's stylish in the performances.
Super Reviewer
½ February 25, 2015
I'm a Kenneth Branagh fan, but Dead Again just didn't do it for me. It was too high minded, littered with holes in its own logic, and Branagh was pretending to be American. I didn't hate it, but my expectations were higher than what the end result delivered.
February 14, 2015
I haven't seen this film is year and it definitely holds up. I remember when I originally saw this in the theater that there was a real novelty value of seeing high powered Shakespearian actors Kenneth Branagh and Derek Jacobi in an what is very much a genre picture. Having come off of his huge success with "Henry V," I suspect Branagh didn't want to get pigeonholed as a stuffy classical actor and wisely made something quite different with this Hickcockian thriller. Branagh plays a PI who helps amnesiac Emma Thompson figure out who she is, but things get complicated when Thompson has repeated visions of a past life involving her, Branagh and murder. The film is a class act all around and Branagh delivers all the thriller good. The script was written by Scott Frank, who only had one film credit prior to this, but who would later go on to write some modern classics like "Get Shorty," "Out of Sight" and "The Lookout." Matthew F. Leonetti gives the film a slick look (even if the black & white flashbacks to the past lives were originally shot in color, they still look great) and composer Patrick Doyle, who also only had a few credits before scoring films like "Brave" and "Thor," provides an exciting score. There's also a fun and unexpectedly eclectic supporting cast that includes Andy Garcia, Jacobi, Wayne Knight, and Robin Williams. I think my main complain about the film is that it does seem a bit overly operatic at times, though that may also be part of the film's charm. Regardless, it's a solid thriller with an amazing cast. And I do have to say that Branagh and Thompson look like a couple of kids in this film. When I looked them up on IMDB, they were both just barely out of their 20s when they made this film.
½ January 25, 2015
A few well timed twist nearly salvage this average 90's thriller. Great movie to DVR and view one rainy Sunday evening as you take multiple naps.
½ October 31, 2014
Overwroght, indulgent and kind of stupid.
October 12, 2014
The movie tracks two parallel plots, one contemporary and one set in the 1940s. It explores a romance between two characters-- and their doomed passion in a previous life. LA detective Mike Church (Kenneth Branagh) comes to the aid of mute, amnesiacim Grace (Emma Thompson) and sets out to discover her identity and the source of her terrible nightmares. He is aided in his investigation by hypnotist/furniture dealer Franklyn (Derek Jacobi) who discovers that in a past life Grace and Mike were lovers, and whose love was ended by the murder of a pianist (also played by Thompson). The pianist's husband, Roman (Branagh) had been executed for her murder. Andy Garcia and Robin Williams are both superb in minor roles. The movie plot has multiple twists that surprise and captivate. This is one of the best mysteries of the 1990s.
August 22, 2014
I can see why it is a bit under rated. A little more artsy fartsy than most people are into. It's a tad confusing for a bit, but then everything falls into place.
½ August 8, 2014
Maybe a little too British in design for a Hollywood thriller which is very formulaic for the glut of these mysteries with a twist that happened around this time. Branagh is clearly less comfortable with himself outside of Shakespeare.
½ May 2, 2014
It took 23 years and one re-watch to adjust my opinion of this from "decent whodunit" to "atrociously acted silliness".
½ April 24, 2014
As boring as it is overblown.
½ April 2, 2014
Although it took a while to get going, this thriller about possible reicarnation does have a lot of tricks up it's sleeves (and 2 big ones!) that keep you entertained. But you really do need to be patient with it.
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