Trailer for Dead Again (dir. Kenneth Branagh, 1991)

You know those movies that are a thrill ride when you first watch them but have little rewatch value? Dead Again is like that. A paranormal neo-noir with themes of reincarnation and vengeance, it feels like an extended homage to Hitchcock’s Vertigo: woman troubled by visions of the past, a detective who falls in loves with her, and a plot full of crazy twists and turns. I was genuinely shocked by the big reveals, but unlike Vertigo, this film lacks that certain haunting quality needed to boost it to classic status. Also Branagh’s wisecracking American accent is sometimes too funny to be taken seriously; he sounds a lot like Raphael on the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon!

Still it’s not a bad film; it has some atmosphere, plus Emma Thompson in a great dual role as the amnesiac young woman of the 1990s and the young pianist of the 1940s who may or may not have been the amnesiac’s previous incarnation. I would say it’s worth one watch, especially for the fan of noir.

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