Kenneth Branagh’s sophomore feature is a glorious throwback to the heyday of film noir about a PI, a woman with amnesia, and the decades-old crime that mysteriously binds them.
30 years before he made this year’s acclaimed BELFAST, Kenneth Branagh cemented his reputation as a filmmaker of resounding talent with 1991’s Dead Again, his deeply referential yet innovative second directorial outing. Branagh stars as Mike Church, a private investigator attempting to discover the identity of a mute, amnesiac woman he nicknames Grace (Emma Thompson). Under the influence of a hypnotist (Derek Jacobi) practicing past life regression, Grace recounts the sordid tale of Roman and Margaret Strauss (also played by Branagh and Thompson), a couple whose relationship ended with Margaret’s stabbing death in 1949. Branagh moves back and forth between present day and black and white flashbacks of the 1940s, unfurling the complex chain of events that led to Margaret Strauss’s demise. While Mike begins to fall for Grace, she grows increasingly alarmed by the seeming parallels between present and past; but are these connections only in her mind, or is Mike and Grace’s relationship headed for a similarly grisly outcome? With its twisty plot full of past lives, doppelgangers, and mistaken identities, DEAD AGAIN is both a faithful homage to Alfred Hitchcock and an ambitious, thoroughly engaging work of entertainment in its own right.
CAST: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Andy García, Derek Jacobi
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