An all-time favorite you can watch again & again!
Susan Halm (firstname.lastname@example.org) | Chicago, Illinois | 08/28/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A brilliant and brilliantly-realized film using modern film techniques to evoke the best old films. A young woman suffering from amnesia and violent nightmares turns to a cynical private detective to help her uncover not only her present, but also explore her past, as they begin to suspect she's been reincarnated after a violent murder in the '40's. Kenneth Branagh directs a superb screenplay by Scott Frank and plays two roles (as does Emma Thompson and a few bit players). The film is shot in black and white AND color, with both stars using different accents and realizing two complete performances each. Cleverly, the script has characters both believing in -- and not believing in -- the idea of reincarnation, which gives depth and balance to both cynics and romantics in the audience. Beautiful film score by Patrick Doyle, which only heightens the melodrama. Everything about this film is tops (including an uncredited performance by Robin Williams -- and it's a gem). I'll never understand why it never received a single Oscar nomination -- Hollywood, you've done it again! If you truly love thrillers, this is one you can't afford to miss! END"
Classy, Noir-ish, Stylish, and Very Memorable
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 02/09/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although he received tremendous praise for his memorable film production of Shakespeare's HENRY V, DEAD AGAIN was the film that really introduced actor/director Kenneth Branagh to mainstream American film, and for a time he and then-wife Emma Thompson were the most celebrated acting couple since Olivier and Leigh. The marriage did not last, but fortunately this film did--and I say fortunately, for although it is somewhat forgotten today, DEAD AGAIN is an overlooked jewel of a film: classy, noir-ish, stylish, and very memorable indeed.The story is fanciful. In the late 1940s noted composer Roman Strauss was convicted of mudering his noted pianist wife Margaret, and was sentenced to death. Some forty years later, a young woman suffering from amnesia falls into the hands of a no-nonsense Los Angeles private eye--and under hypnosis she recalls not her immediate past, but the lives of Roman and Margaret. Is this reincarnation? Is she Margaret Strauss? Is the private eye to whom she is attracted but of whom she is also strangely fearful the reincarnation of Roman Strauss, Margaret's killer? Is history repeating itself?Scott Frank's clever script makes for a fast-paced, twisting, and fascinating plot-driven film--and it is flawlessly played by Branagh and Thompson, who assume dual roles as the 1940s Roman and Margaret Strauss and the 1980s Mike Church and Grace. The supporting cast is also excellent, with memorable performances by Andy Garcia and Derek Jacobi--and a truly exceptional cameo by Robin Williams, who here for the first time demonstrated that his talents went far beyond comedy. The shifts between past and present, nightmare and reality are exceedingly well done, and although the plot becomes more and more fantastic the entire film is so perfectly executed that one buys into it every step of the way.If DEAD AGAIN has a flaw, it is that some of the twists and turns are predictable--but in the film's favor I must admit that it sweeps you along so quickly that you seldom have time to analyse that failing while you actually watch the film. It is also to a certain extent a "one trick pony" film; the film is at its most powerful upon a first viewing, when one is oblivious to what is coming. But even so, it is tremendously effective and it holds up as well today as when it first appeared on the big screen. The DVD includes little in the way of extras beyond commentary tracks by producer Lindsay Doran, writer Scott Frank, and director-star Kenneth Branagh--and these are as hit-and-miss as commentary tracks usually are, but they hit more often than miss. The picture and sound quality is overall very good. Recommended!"
A superb thriller without a recycled plot!
M. Rodriguez | Tampa, FL United States | 02/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the Hollywood world of the same plots and stories, this film always stands to the side as an original. At the time of this film's release, the idea of past lives, Karma, and reincarnation had not yet been beaten to death...so I found it to be very entertaining, and a film I still watch from time to time on a rainy afternoon.An interesting story that captures you from the beginning and leaves you guessing "Who Done It?" all the way to the end. The reviewers who deem this worthy of Hitchcock are absolutely correct! Both Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson are fabulous in this film...the chemistry between them is undeniable. Such a shame that it didn't work out for them in real life. This was a departure from the traditional Shakespearean roles that Branagh plays, however, his character in this film(as is Thompson's)is one you can warm up to immediately. The imagery and flashbacks to the 1940's are wonderful...you can tell that they were well orchestrated and are delivered with class. The film has a completely engrossing storyline as well...so many angles to absorb, so many possible endings pop into your head that the true ending is a surprise. Wonderful performances by Derek Jacobi...he is tastily diabolical in this, as well as Andy Garcia (as the jaded reporter) and Robin Williams. Even the most die hard hecklers of past lives theories and Karma can't help but enjoy this film...a very believable, entertaining film that you'll want to see more than once!"