Rachel Weisz delivers two stellar performances in a unique, modern reinvention of the David Cronenberg thriller.
Plot: A modern take on David Cronenberg’s 1988 thriller starring Jeremy Irons, Rachel Weisz plays the double-lead roles of Elliot and Beverly Mantle, twins who share everything: Drugs, lovers, and an unapologetic desire to do whatever it takes–including pushing the boundaries on medical ethics–in an effort to challenge antiquated practices and bring women’s health care to the forefront
Review: The 1988 thriller Dead Ringers starred Jeremy Irons in the dual roles of Elliot and Beverly Mantle, identical twin gynecologists who succumb to vanity, addiction, and obsession. The film is one of director David Cronenberg’s more restrained productions yet still features disturbing body horror imagery in a unique take on Bari Woods’ novel Twins. It is hard to imagine how anyone could remake Dead Ringers without existing in the shadow of Cronenberg’s film. Alice Birch, the showrunner, and Rachel Weisz have reimagined this tale with a new perspective that transforms it from thriller to meditative dramatic. The Prime Video series
Deadringers shares the core plot only with the previous versions of the story. Beverly and Elliot Mantle, identical twins, are gynecologists. Beverly is the more sympathetic of the two, while Eliot tends to be more vocal and more willing to stir up controversy. Eliot is more interested in research, while Beverly is more invested in their patients. As the series begins, the sisters are planning to open a clinic for births and are seeking funding from wealthy Rebecca and Susan (Emily Meade) who own a wealth of money. Beverly and Eliot drift apart as their wealthy patrons dictate their career goals and personal ambitions. Genevieve, a beautiful and well-known actress who becomes involved with Beverly, further complicates this divide. In the 1988 film a character named Claire Niveau (Genevieve Bujold), based on the real-life deaths of twin gynecologists Stewart Marcus and Cyril Marcus, catalyzes twin doctors to fall into addiction and eventually death. Alice Birch, the showrunner of the series Dead Ringers, uses this version of
dead ringers instead to explore modern medicine and specifically obstetrics. It is misleading to watch Dead Ringers 01.001010 expecting a horror story. This six-episode series is a look at the psyche of identical twins and the trauma of co-dependency. This six-episode series is instead a look inside the psyche of identical twins and the trauma of co-dependency.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNi0JE5sIZENone of what this series aims to be would work without the integral performances from Rachel Weisz. Weisz is one of the most talented actors in today’s industry. From
to The Lobster to The Favorite she has been a leading actor for many years. It can be difficult to play two roles at once, no matter how good the actor is. Weisz portrays Beverly and Eliot in this film as two incredibly distinct characters, yet they are mirror images of each other. They are physically different in their mannerisms, hairstyles and physicality. The subtlety of Weisz’s acting is captivating to watch. I’ve never seen such seamless editing. Weisz is also good opposite Britne oldford and Michael Chernus. Weisz is in control of the screen, but Poppy Liu, who plays Greta, the assistant to the Mantle twins, is a delightful surprise. Alice Birch, the series creator, is also responsible for the success of Dead Ringers. Birch is a talented playwright who wrote the Florence Pugh films, LadyMacbeth and The wonder
which are two intensely wrought examinations on being a woman at different times in history. Birch and her staff use the dichotomy between childbirth and medicine as well as rich and poor, hate and love, to examine women’s interactions today. The majority of on-screen couples are same-sex relationships, which further drives the idea of femininity. Birch collaborates with directors Sean Durkin and Lauren Wolkstein as well as Karena Evans and the great Karyn Kusema to create modern, elegant sets in blues and browns. The medical procedures are also given a stark, detached quality which emphasizes the blood and primal elements that the human body is capable of. It is as beautiful and haunting as it is shocking and jarring. It is worth bringing in uninformed viewers to this powerful drama. Deadringers lacks the tension that you would expect from a horror or thriller, but it is still a great drama with chilling overtones and chilling elements. The brilliant performances of Rachel Weisz in Dead rings showcase her talent in all genres. This is not a show for the faint-hearted, nor for those who are looking for a casual watch. From the first episode through the sixth and final chapter of Deadringers
, you will be compelled to examine each frame to find every lingering moment. Keep watching past the credits. Not everything ends the way you expect it to.Dead Ringers premieres on April 21st on Prime Video.8