Wednesday, July 10, 2013

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: Dead Ringers


So, it’s that time again for ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ and this one was difficult for me.  I have a touch and go relationship with David Cronenberg.  I know that I’m told by many of my cinephile friends that I should embrace him, but I find it difficult.  I’ve really liked one of his films and I’ve appreciated a handful of others, but as a rule I find his films to be underwhelming. 

All shock and no real substance.

For many, ‘Dead Ringers’ was a turning point for Cronenberg and the way he was viewed by the entertainment community.  Here is a man who dwelled heavily in the world of shock value and horror and he was now directing a film that had almost no gore whatsoever.  The film itself maintains Cronenberg’s lust for horror and yet it feels so much more refined and thought out than his previous works.  It has a depth that feels truly grounded, and the films horrifying elements (there are moments in this film that are cringe inducing in their disturbia) feel conceived in honesty; no matter how farfetched that may seem.

The film is actually inspired on actual events (how much of this twisted tale is truth and how much is embellishment I wonder), chronicling the rather bizarre behavior of a pair of identical twin gynecologists who traded identities, lovers and, well…everything during their career.  Beverly is the more prudish yet obviously more impressionable brother, and Elliot is the more suave, morally despicable one.  When they both wind up inside the same actress, things get heavy and soon Beverly is slipping off the deep end, allowing his newfound obsession to control his every waking thought.  Elliot, dissolving under his own breed of selfishness, snaps at the fibers of his brothers sanity by pushing him too far in areas he doesn’t quite realize are ‘dangerous’, attempting to help him in ways he knows will leave him most satisfied. 

It doesn’t work.

Nothing works.

The incestual underlinings of the films core can leave a bitter taste, but for me the taste was less bitter and more thought provoking, for it took the idea of the kindred relationship between twins to a level I hadn’t seen explored in cinema before. 

That is where my head was at while considering my favorite ‘shot’.  There are so many great moments between Irons and, well, Irons that highlight the relationship brewing beneath his skin.  I mean, to be completely honest, as much as I seem to love this film (it is possibly the best thing that Cronenberg has ever done), my love for the film is eclipsed by my respect and admiration for everything Jeremy Irons pulled out of himself for this film.  He really goes there, fully fleshing out two completely different yet similarly lost souls, giving them enough shades of difference to highlight their individual declines.  It is a stunning work of art, one that grows stronger and stronger with each passing frame, which made selecting a specific frame all the more difficult.

I narrowed it down to two, my runner-up being this tragic embrace that depicts the inevitable.
 
Runner-Up

But for me this one particular shot kept resurfacing in my mind as the one to pick.  I think it perfectly captures the relationship between the brothers, the control, dominance and eerie connection that binds them. The reactions from Irons' in both roles here is spectacular and helps shade both of these men to perfection.  You can truly see, feel and understand where they are both coming from, and this particular shot helps you get a grip on where they are headed.

My Best Shot!
Had a blast yet again Nate!  Can't wait to do it again!  For the rest of you, if you aren't already participating, please start now!!!  Mary Poppins is next, and who doesn't want to watch that glorious movie again.

6 comments:

  1. I'm glad to have pushed you into seeing this. Jeremy Irons. I've been saying for decades that this is one of the most shameful snubs in oscar history. and i'm sure i'll say it for decades still to come

    LOVE your runner up shot actually... but i get where you're coming from and going with ssomethign you keep returning to

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a toss up in the end, but I went with my gut. I'm loving participating in this Nate, can't wait for the next one :-D

      And yes, this snub is ridiculous. In all honestly, he's leagues better here than he was in his Oscar winning role two years later. Don't get me wrong, he's great in 'Reversal of Fortune', but he's tremendous here.

      Delete
  2. I loved Irons in this, especially after reading a tidbit from the Wikipedia page that said he initially intended to use distinct dressing rooms depending on which twin he was portraying but ended up forgoing that, realizing he could create both characters to be dissimilar enough to be discerned from one another but similar enough that it'd cause the necessary confusion the plot requires.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, that sounds like something DDL would do! Yeah, Irons was beyond words here. Head and shoulders above Oscar's top five (and really anyone else that year for that matter).

      Delete
  3. Nice shot choices. I can't decide which one I prefer, as they both work so well. Irons is fantastic in those roles, and he's easily my runner-up for Best Actor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that Willis wins for you...even if I think Irons gave the better performance.

      Delete