According to Dead Again death is not the end, in fact it is quite literally the beginning. The credit sequence (which I nearly skipped by accident) starts off the show by showing the brutal deaths of two doomed lovers in the post-war era of the late fourties: Roman and Margaret Strauss, a German composer and his concert pianist; one murdered and the other made to die for for doing it. Then we leap forward to a modern day LA where a woman resembling Margaret is struggling to remember who she is when a prototypical Private Investigator is called in to solve the case, one who just so happens to look identical to Roman. We can see instantly that the romance will be rekindled, but are they bound to repeat the pattern forever?
Dead Again is then a strange kind of ghost story, one in which humans are haunted by their own past lives. This is a fascinating premise, but I spelled out the story more to show you just how big and blunt the film is in its depiction. We apparently can’t be trusted to make connections on our own and so the characters are played by the same actors, just with broad accents and pasted on beards. On further reflection I needn’t have done so because simply looking at the films title tells you all that you need to know about its execution: Dead Again, it’s brisk, cheap and utterly lacking in poetry which is not what you would expect from someone of Branagh’s background.
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