(1991)4Steven E. McDonaldDirector/actor Kenneth Branagh made a stylistic shift for this 1991 reincarnation mystery, playing a Los Angeles private eye (with a note-perfect accent, mind you) who comes across an amnesiac woman Emma Thompson, with the almost immediate result that he begins to have nightmarish flashbacks to another life, where he was a brilliant European orchestra conductor, Roman Strauss, and the mystery woman was his wife, Margaret. The subsequent tale both ravels the threads nicely, and unravels the truth exquisitely, with only a somewhat clumsy dénouement betraying Branagh's assured touch as director (here turned towards adapting a handful of elements from Hitchcock's bag of tricks). Dead Again is a curious mystery though, with complexities that rival those to be found in the films of Nicholas Roeg. Scott A. Frank's script weaves past and present threads together, carefully concealing the truth from the viewer without cheating in any way, avoiding a failing that's become all too common with mystery stories. Branagh's self-assurance leads to a radical place for a major Hollywood film -- Frank's script was left alone unless changes were absolutely needed. Dead Again is a clever piece of work -- engaging, suspenseful, and sometimes even edge-of-seat thrilling.