Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Separation can be a terrifying thing...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

I had never seen David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers before watching it for this series and it's certainly a fascinating film that explores Cronenberg's fascination with body horror and shifting identities. The film is headlined by a tour de force performance by Jeremy Irons, who plays identical twins Elliot and Beverly Mantle, successful gynecologists who share everything to the point of pathological codependency. We learn very early on that they in fact share women with Elliot, the aggressor of the two, passing off the women he's not interested in to his shy and more passive brother Beverly. This uneasy relationship comes to head when Beverly falls for movie actress Claire Niveau (Geneviève Bujold) and wants to have her all to herself. Unfortunately, Beverly trades one unhealthy codependent relationship with another as drugs and paranoia tear into his life which in turn infects Elliot as well in the end. It's a nice detail in the film to have this parallel of Beverly's destructive relationship with Elliot and Claire as if almost to say there's no escape. This parallel also features in two of my honorable mention shots:

In both, Beverly is in the subordinate position regardless of the situation. He is just unable to exist as his own person. He probably doesn't even know what that means. Or maybe he does and it scares him. Though it's Elliot who is the more diabolical one, Cronenberg doesn't shy away from Beverly's darker impulses and clearly wants us to fear him as well. How scary (and beautifully composed) is this shot of Beverly draped in red?

But I'm stalling a bit with my best shot. No real reason why except there's not much to say about it other than the slightly hilarious juxtaposition of the two brothers in the scene which perfectly summarizes their respective personalities:

My Best Shot

Again, Beverly is in a passive position, curled up and thinking dark thoughts while Elliot is being his charming and suave self, having the time of his life drinking, dancing, and kissing. It's so like me to gravitate towards this relatively simple and "funny" scene amidst all of the horror imagery throughout the film, but even this particular shot speaks to the burgeoning collapse of the brothers' lives with Elliot's reality becoming something of a living nightmare for Beverly and, unbeknownst to Elliot at this moment, vice versa.

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