Iconic filmmaker David Cronenberg’s award-winning 1988 classic Dead Ringers receives a remake in the form of a streaming miniseries. Sean Durkin directs four episodes, Karena Evans helms three, Lauren Wolkstein directs two, and Karyn Kusama directs one.
The 2023 version is a gender swap in the lead roles, with Rachel Weisz playing the double-lead role of Elliot and Beverly Mantle. The Mantle twins share everything: drugs, lovers, and an unapologetic desire to do whatever it takes, including pushing the boundaries of medical ethics to challenge antiquated practices and bring women’s health care to the forefront.
Mostly, the 2023 version of Dead Ringers follows the 1988 film’s plot. It’s fair to say Beverly and Elliot Mantle are established gynecologists; they are physically identical and inseparable. They have shared everything since childhood, and once they become adults, they also exchange adventures with the opposite sex. Despite this, these adventures always remain on a purely carnal level, never affecting sentiment.
When Beverly meets the actress Genevieve (Britne Odlford), she falls in love platonically with her, despite feeling ashamed and struggling to confess it to her sister. It is Elliot who controls this game that Beverly wishes to escape from. Claire is also characterized by an anatomical feature immediately catching Elliot’s attention: she has a “three-pronged” uterus. The sisters have mastered the art of impersonation, allowing Weisz to tap into her range. While Eilot is the wild one, Beverly is meeker, and Weisz easily slays both roles.
Fans of the Cronenberg’s original can rest assured that this isn’t a note-for-note remake. While I haven’t seen the original version in at least ten years, I don’t recall the supporting character being as fleshed out as Rebecca portrayed by Jennifer’s Ehele. Additionally, the series doesn’t get too violently extreme outside of some graphic childbirth scenes in the first episode.
At the center of Dead Ringers lies the singular bond between two twin siblings. The story examines the uncomfortable question of whether being a twin can divide or double one’s life experience. It addresses this with dark humor and compelling drama, creating an inimitable atmosphere that cannot be replicated. Weisz offers a powerful performance supported by a solid behind-the-scenes team
All episodes of Dead Ringers are available to stream on Prime Video tomorrow, April 21st.
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