Dead Ringers Reviews
Saw this on 2/9/16
This could be Crorenberg's worst as it is one of the most meaningless films I've ever seen. This time Crorenberg dipped his head way up his ass that no one can see what he's up to. Jeremy Irons seems to give a committed performance though.
I haven't seen, from my fellow Canadian, either 'Scanners' (1981) or 'Naked Lunch' (1991), so I can't honestly say whether or not my assertion can be thus extended, but I dare ANYONE to find in horror a finer run than Cronenberg had, in 'Videodrome', 'The Dead Zone', 'The Fly'...and this, 'Dead Ringers'.
Elliott is the older of the two and often refers to Beverly as "little brother." Irons portrays Elliott with a smugness whose so snarky you just want to smack him, but as Beverly, he is shy, not very confident and almost intimidated by Elliott. We learn early in the film how Elliott seduces his clients and once he becomes bored with the women passes them on to Bev, who pretends to be him, sometimes unknowingly to these women. Things become complicated when a movie star named Claire Niveau (Geneviere Bujold) is passed on to Bev and Bev develops feelings for her. Claire doesn't know that he's twins and that he and his brother ultimately share everything. After confronting the two of them together in a restaurant she leaves in anger and this is the first time in the whole film where Elliott actually shows any compassion for his brother as he starts to cry.
Beverly reunites with Clarie and they start a relationship but he becomes troubled when she leaves Toronto to shoot another picture. He becomes absolutely paranoid and delusional and believes his brother is sleeping with her until he calls her hotel room and her gay manager answers to which he describes her as a "mutant woman." He realizes he's been hiding from the wrong person and goes back to his brother and starts abusing drugs and throwing himself into his work. He develops tools to work on these "mutant women" and as a result he and his brother lose their license. Elliott now tries to clean Beverly up but ultimately ends up taking the same drugs his brother is taking in an effort to sync their bloodlines up.
Irons ultimately landed the role after it was turned down by both Robert DeNiro and William Hurt, and to be fair, it's hard to imagine anyone else in these roles. Irons even had two separate trailers and wardrobes for each character and while the audience will be confused as to which brother is which, Irons himself has said that during filming he became aware that the whole point of the story was to be confused as to which twin he was. He decided to use an acting technique that was nearly a century old by the time Irons used it called the Alexander technique, which is an educational process that teaches people how to avoid using unnecessary muscular and mental tension because a person's self awareness may be incorrect. This technique allowed Irons to "look different" when playing the twins by providing much of his weight on either the balls of his feet or his heels depending on the character. Shots of Irons as the twins was filmed using computer-controlled moving-matte photography. At no time in the film does it not look as if there was only one Irons as shadows and lighting flawlessly look realistic in those scenes.
This is a extremely disturbing film that only Cronenberg could have pulled off. The creepy relationship that the twins have is also homoerotic as it's implied Elliott vicariously lives through his brother's sexual exploits imagining he's there. The twins may be two separate people, but they possess one soul. And each one of them can't stand the thought of being alone. Many times through the film, Elliott mentions he wouldn't be where he is today with Beverly's work and Beverly quite possibly wouldn't be where he is without Elliott taking care of him.