Home TV Shows Reviews ‘Dead Ringers’ (2023) Prime Video Series Review - Lies of the Twins

‘Dead Ringers’ (2023) Prime Video Series Review - Lies of the Twins

The series follows Rachel Weisz in the double-lead roles of Elliot and Beverly Mantle, twins who share everything - Drugs, lovers, and an unapologetic desire to do whatever it takes

Vikas Yadav - Tue, 18 Apr 2023 17:39:52 +0100 2497 Views
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David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers can be considered a prophecy. In the film, a gynecologist remarks that there should be a beauty contest solely about the magnificence of the internal organs. Well, we see something similar in Cronenberg's Crimes of the Future. Furthermore, in that 1988 movie, an actress is busy working in a miniseries. Cut to 2023, and we have a series based on Cronenberg's film. I have not read Twins, written by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland, but I found Cronenberg's adaptation cold, distant, and somewhat creepy. The whole film was mainly held together by Jeremy Irons' performance, and this new adaptation, too, is mostly held together by the leading actor.

Rachel Weisz steps into the shoes of Elliot and Beverly Mantle, and she is excellent - as expected. Like Irons, Weisz creates a distinction between her two characters, and we are always able to tell one from the other. Elliot's every word and every movement is imbued with confidence, while Beverly tries to hold herself back and has a sort of rigid walk and soft eyes. The characters often swap their positions by changing their hairstyle. Yet, we figure out which one is Beverly and which one is Elliot. Only two other characters in the show are as smart as the audience. Others get easily fooled by the twins.

Beverly presents herself as shy and polite, though there are moments where she explodes and gives others a piece of her mind. Elliot, on the other hand, makes sarcastic comments and wields her beauty for sexual satisfaction. She is aware of the power she holds over men and uses it to make them submissive. For instance, a husband excitedly shows his genitalia like a servant fulfilling an order from his master. Moreover, a tech geek's assistant watches Elliot having sex with his boss and obeys her when she tells him to not touch himself. The horny men get seduced by Elliot and instantly take off their pants to gratify her desires. Weisz expertly and convincingly changes gears from being patient to being forceful and is a joy to watch in this show.

Another amazing aspect of this series is its soundscape. Observe how multiple characters speak at the dinner table, each talking about a different subject, and how all this chaos slowly builds and reaches its climax through a loud "shut up!" The series keenly listens to its characters, and there are times when we are completely absorbed in their conversations. Sometimes, the camera slowly goes near a character, as if it's being pulled towards them due to the sheer intensity with which the lines are spoken. In one of the episodes, a vibrating phone doubles up as a background score to accentuate how a character is missing (or calling out) someone close to her.

This series is competently made, and I certainly prefer it over the 1988 film. However, I didn't like Cronenberg's movie, and I didn't like this new show either. Put both the projects side by side, and I will pick some positive and negative elements from both of them. But overall, I am not a fan of these two adaptations. According to the press material, one of the reasons why Alice Birch decided to produce this show was to set it in contemporary New York. The idea is to engage with the horror of the medical system, the mortality rate among people of color, and the whole "her body, her choice" discussion. All these issues are present in the show but are merely touched upon or not vigorously brought up. A Black woman dies due to negligence (a scan is recommended by the doctors, though it's not done), but it seems as if Dead Ringers simply checked a box. Most of the commentary is dispensed through arguments, making the show equivalent to a candidate who has participated in a debate.

The horror part of the show is surprisingly tame and not too repulsive. Skins are cut, babies come out of the vagina, and it's all explicitly photographed. Yet, nothing is as nauseating as that scene from the Cronenberg film where Claire Niveau chews a flesh that connects the bodies of Beverly and Elliot. Greta's (Poppy Liu) presence seems superfluous. The same can be said about that homeless old lady who breaks items in front of Elliot. The colors are muted, and while I understand the reason (it's a bleak story), I still found the series dull and ugly. Dead Ringers starts off quite energetically, but soon its pulse becomes weak, filling you with fatigue. The devotion the twins feel for each other is evident. Unfortunately, you don't develop a similar devotion for this series.

Final Score- [6/10]
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times
Note: All 6 episodes are screened for this review.
Premiere Date: April 21, 2023, on Prime Video



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