Dead Again movie review
Dead Again is one of those movies that leaves it all out on the field. It has excellent performances from Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams (and, to a lesser extent, Andy Garcia and Derek Jacobi). I wouldn’t say it’s a great movie, and it certainly has some fresh ideas for the film noir mystery genre, but it comes up a bit short.
In a way, this poster is a good analogy for what’s wrong with this movie. It should be a tight little mystery story, but instead, everything is much more complicated than it needs to be. I don’t want to spoil the flick for you, but I will say that once you get to that shot of Emma Thompson holding the gun in the bedroom and it suddenly switches to slow motion (for IMPACT!) at the end of the scene (this is about halfway through the movie), you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
And it kinda gets worse from there.
Robin Williams character is interesting, but he really only exists to push the plot forward. They go visit him, he spouts some exposition (and does it very well, I might add) and that’s about it. His character is a device and these scenes feel awkward – your brain keeps telling you, “This feels wrong” the entire time. Even if you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about story structure, it’s obvious – only Williams’ performance keeps these scenes from falling apart. Now, if they’d fleshed him out and made him an organic part of the story, it would have felt a lot more natural, but as it is, the movie is a long 107 minutes.
There are some weird staging choices, too. The choreography of the climax is… not good. They were way more concerned about making pretty pictures than they were about logic. I imagine the filmmaking team getting into the editing room and somebody saying, “Well, we better order some food, because we’re gonna be here for a while.” It’s not a disaster, but it sure ain’t perfect.
Dead Again is something of a critical mystery; it drags but isn’t boring. It’s interesting, but convoluted. Oh, and speaking of convoluted the solution to the mystery gets really tangled, but that’s not to say that the movie isn’t entertaining. It’s an actor’s movie more than anything else, and it’s worth checking out for Branagh and Thompson’s performances alone – and neo-noir mystery thriller fans will probably dig it, too. I know it sounds like I hated the flick, but I’m giving it a 7 out of 10. Dead Again is quite good in spite of its flaws.
If you want to check it out, the whole thing is in pieces of YouTube.