Jeremy Irons played twin Toronto gynecologists in the 35 year-old original; Rachel Weisz does the same this time, playing both the prim and proper Beverly Mantle (cautiously mannered, hair-bunned, lesbian) and her twin sister Eliot (louche, profane, hair-trigger, straight).
At first Beverly and Eliot are depicted as brilliant, bristling partners in business and visionary birthing (“we’re both extraordinary”), and then, inevitably…you know what happens.
Cronenberg’s feature was definitely a perverse rogue-male thing; the Amazon series is also perverse but informed by boundary-pushing 21st Century womanhood top to bottom.
I can’t say I’m feeling especially won over. You can detect the diseased dynamic between the twins immediately, and right away it brings on feelings of fatigue. Portions of the piecemeal narrative feel hazily plotted and puzzle-boxy. Jody Lee Lipes and Laura Merians Gonçalves‘ cinematography is too under-lighted — everything has a chilly, grayish-blue tint, and I was very quickly annoyed by this.
For my money Birch’s Dead Ringers doesn’t so much mesmerize or disturb or guide you into some weird nether realm as vacuum you dry. With the exception of a killer dinner-table argument scene, that is, which I quite enjoyed.
All six episodes have been written by women (and two by Birch). Sean Durkin directed episodes #1 and #2, and co-directed episode 6 with Lauren Wolkstein; the other three episodes were directed by Wolkstein, Karena Evans and Karyn Kusama.
I shouldn’t say any more. Except that I really don’t want to sit through episodes #3 through #6. Okay, I’ll watch them but not with any haste or dispatch.