dead_ringers00053 Dead Ringers (1988) - dir. David Cronenberg

Twin gynecologists date the same woman. One does the initial wooing, and then - as he puts it - gives the women to his "baby brother," without them knowing. They switch places in their professional lives as well, and it's not clear who is exactly responsible for what at their world-class fertility clinic. They outdo Hayley Mills's twins, climbing to the top of the professional ladder, fooling everyone.

The only thing that could break up such a partnership does. A woman.

My brief description sounds like something from a soap opera or a Lifetime movie, but because this is Hollywood, Dead Ringers gives virtually no thought to the woman's point of view. The movie is about the melding of identities that the twins experience. Drugs and sex enter the picture, and send them on a spiral into each other.

deadringers7I enjoyed the movie, and Jeremy Irons gave a terrific performance. He starts by differentiating the two brothers in subtle ways that let me tell them apart in each scene without it feeling gimmicky Then, as film continues, he adjusts his performance to make them truly identical. I appreciated Cronenberg's disturbing sense of humor too -- on display when one of the twins orders gynecology instruments. But I've never felt like any of Cronenberg's work was a must-see. Interesting, yes. Well made? Yes. But it always feels disposable and none of it has stuck with me.