Is Rachel Weisz’s series worth watching?

Beverly and Elliot Mantel (Rachel Weisz) in Dead Ringers.  (First video)

Beverly and Elliot (Rachel Weisz) in Dead Ringers. (First video)

With all the flair of a seasoned Succession screenwriter, Emmy nominee Alice Birch (Normal People) resurrects and reimagines David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers on Prime Video April 21.

Gone are the cold, clinical flourishes that so defined the 1988 adaptation — starring Jeremy Irons as Beverly and Elliot Mantel — to be replaced with a more feminine version of an outstanding Rachel Weisz on career-best form.

This new version strips away the dull pacing that hampered the original, peppering it with lashings of lewd language, effortlessly propelling Dead Ringers 2023 into the realms of greatness.

To know more: Everything you need to know about Dead Ringers

Opening up to the Mantel twins (Rachel Weisz) eating at a diner, Alice Birch and her cohorts set out to differentiate between these medically gifted mirror images – oblivious to other patrons and utterly consumed by their own company.

(Elliot) Rachel Weisz in Dead Ringers.  (First video)

(Elliot) Rachel Weisz in Dead Ringers. (First video)

Elliot attacks life with a voracious appetite, leaving burn marks in his wake as physical attraction comes easy, cheeky attitudes reap the rewards, and outspoken opinions instill confidence. Opposite her sits Beverly, an introspective observer of life, who is intellectually astute, willfully guarded, and quietly calculating: the acceptable face for corporate functions and fundraising benefits.

Yet the fact that they are dedicated to the study of female fertility, with a focus on making that miraculous moment dignified for all mothers, is only a stepping stone to larger debates in this extremely complex series.

With dialogue creating its own electric current, and characters crackling with dogged originality, there’s little chance Dead Ringers mark two will be anything but excellent.

Playing alongside herself, aided and abetted by an unseen Kitty Hawthorne, Rachel Weisz is foul-mouthed and forthright, yet eloquently discreet and low-key. Too soon the public will see it simply as a single elegantly dissected entity.

Elliot (Rachel Weisz) in Dead Ringers (Prime Video)

Elliot (Rachel Weisz) in Dead Ringers (Prime Video)

Whether coaxing inappropriate behavior from unwitting husbands or fussing over carefully conceived diagrams in preparation for important presentations, this actor’s psychological divide in terms of performance is staggering. However, when the decisive plot point involves Jennifer Ehle (Rebecca) – as both Mantels seek investment in their birth and research center – then that portrayal reaches another level of complexity all together.

To know more: News on Prime Video in April

As subplots begin to branch off in different directions, questioning Elliot’s psychological stability, or the fertility issues surrounding Beverly, nuances of the original incarnation begin to emerge. Slowly tapping into emotional detachment, which initially marked Cronenberg’s vision as such a radical departure from expectations in 1988.

Beverly (Rachel Weisz) and Genevieve (Britne Oldford) in Dead Ringers.  (First video)

Beverly (Rachel Weisz) and Genevieve (Britne Oldford) in Dead Ringers. (First video)

Slowly but surely the biological bond that has made both Beverly and Elliot Mantel successful in life begins to erode, as the introverted element in this equation falls to Genevieve (Britne Oldford), a television actress seeking treatment. This drives a wedge between the identical twins as Beverly’s affections are channeled elsewhere for the first time.

However, if the driving force behind Dead Ringers were focused solely on sibling rivalry, audiences would only make it through an hour of this six-part series. Composed clichés and formulaic storytelling would override all the good work presented in that opening, but thankfully Alice Birch, among others, takes the storytelling into uncharted waters, tackling ethical and moral dilemmas that widen the playing field.

To know more: News on Sky Cinema/NOW in April

Gene editing in the embryonic stage is discussed, as are ramblings about delaying menopause, before these guests dive into a debate about abortion. Having all of this happen at a dinner party where the host serves the horse will tell the audience everything they need to know about the people who eat.

Beverly (Rachel Weisz) in Dead Ringers.  (First video)

Beverly (Rachel Weisz) in Dead Ringers. (First video)

Beyond the unflinching depiction of childbirth assaulting the senses in that initial episode combined with some inspired introductions, this dinner table scene will literally turn the tables on any future expectations.

With tinges of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange bleeding through the soundtrack, through a combination of isolated anarchy and super-rich shenanigans – this is when Dead Ringers becomes a completely different animal.

To know more: New on Disney+ in April

Any amount of sophistication that had been established through character, dialogue, or storytelling is elevated as this series transitions into a piece of social commentary. What remains fascinating about Dead Ringers from that point on comes down to how it manages to keep the momentum going, keeping all those topics flying and maintaining the sheen of a mainstream show.

With outstanding support from the likes of Jeremy Stamos (Joseph), Emily Meade (Susan) and Allyson Kloster (McKenzie), this series successfully revels in the essence of Cronenberg, before taking that inspiration and bringing it to ten .

Dead Ringers is something very original but and without a doubt, in 2024, Rachel Weisz will be in contention for awards.

Dead Ringers is available to stream from April 21 on Prime Video.

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