Starring Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Derek Jacobi, Andy Garcia, Robin Williams, Wayne Knight

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(7-Very Good Film)

Mysterious. Suspenseful. Nifty.

Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson are both immediately recognizable as British. I’ve seen them do Shakespeare, E.M Forster, Richard Curtis, and Harry Potter. So watching them play Americans, as they do in Dead Again, can be a bit distracting, but once the film’s elaborate plot builds up and unfolds, and Branagh’s confident direction develops, I soon got over it. Their performances are in fact, very good, and the film’s cast is filled out with Sir Derek Jacobi as a hypnotist, Robin Williams as a crooked psychologist at rock-bottom, Andy Garcia as a snooping reporter, and Wayne Knight as a dependable friend and photographer. Thompson plays a mute amnesiac, Grace, with nightmares of herself being murdered. Branagh plays private detective, Mike Church, hired to help the woman solve who she is, and why she’s having these dreams. They discover the secret may dwell in their past lives, and the film inter-cuts with black and white passages, also starring Branagh and Thompson as newlyweds Margaret and Roman Strauss. A mystery, a romance, Dead Again could easily have become a silly potboiler. Branagh takes the premise seriously, and shows a knack for suspense and style as a director.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-


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