Dead Again (1991)




A detective helps a woman who has memory loss and they discover that they are connected via reincarnation to a murder that happened in the 1940s.


This is a wonderful movie. It's like a rebirth of classic Alfred Hitchcock suspense. Granted, you would have to be a pretty big Kenneth Branagh fan to know of this movie because it is really obscure, but that does not detract from it's enjoyability. It has some wonderful actors. The same with "Much Ado About Nothing", the fact that Branagh and Thompson were married in real life just gives the perfect, amazing on-screen chemistry that makes the romance totally work.
I have a favorite scene, and that is: Branagh's character Mike Church and Thompson's character Grace share a very romantic kiss in the rain on the roof of Mike Church's house.
Ok, fine, some downsides. There is one plot gap that I can recall but to describe it, I kind of need to provide the context. The story takes place in modern day Los Angeles. The male and female leads are connected via reincarnation to a murder that occurred in 1949. So there is a twist that the man in the present was the woman in the past and vice versa, a gender switch. I really don't like that scenario. It's just not good. The plot gap is that that scenario is inconsistent with the beginning of the movie. In the beginning, the woman is haunted by dreams of the past murder as if she was the victim. So if the gender switch had occurred, by that reasoning, it should have been the man who was having the dreams and freaking out.
Just a side-note, filming "Thor" brought back memories of this movie for Branagh because "Thor" was filmed in Los Angeles and the last time Branagh was in Los Angeles was when making this movie, "Dead Again".
Let me point out some little Branagh nuances: 1) The opening title sequence is a series of newspaper articles about the 1949 murder. They show the date on one of the newspapers and it is December 10, which is Branagh's birthday; 2) Branagh's character in the past, Roman Strauss, is on Death Row and the number on his jumpsuit is the date of the Battle of Agincourt, which is a reference to "Henry V" which is another wonderful Branagh movie; 3) you'll notice a Shakespeare bridge in the background of one of the scenes; 4) there is one point where Derek Jacobi's character Franklyn Madsen pulls out an issue of Time magazine and on the cover is a picture of Laurence Olivier in his classic 1948 "Hamlet" film.


Directed by: Kenneth Branagh


Kenneth Branagh ... Mike Church / Roman Strauss
Emma Thompson ... Grace / Margaret Strauss
Derek Jacobi ... Franklin Madsen
Wayne Knight ... Pete Dugan
Hanna Shygulla ... Inga
Gregor Hesse ... Frankie
Andy Garcia ... Grey Baker
Robin Williams ... Cozy Carlisle