Dead Again

Kenneth Branagh (Henry V) directs and plays two roles in a show-offy American thriller scripted by Scott Frank that is loads of fun even if it’s ultimately strangled by its excesses. A Los Angeles private eye (Branagh) sets out to learn the identity of a beautiful amnesiac (Emma Thompson) who suffers from nightmares; he’s aided by an antique dealer (Derek Jacobi) with a flair for hypnosis. With his help the woman produces tales set in LA in the 40s about a European composer and his wife (Branagh and Thompson again), shot in black and white. As the twists come thick and fast and the plot gets progressively more and more baroque, Branagh shows himself to be at least as intelligent as Brian De Palma in delivering over-the-top stylistic filigree and every bit as willing to take his own two-dimensional postmodernism too seriously; with Andy Garcia, Hanna Schygulla, and an enjoyable turn by an uncredited Robin Williams (1991). (JR)

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