(1988)4.5Brendon HanleyDavid Cronenberg focussed his obsession with the grotesque inward with Dead Ringers. Unlike his previous efforts, the director is more interested in the emotional defects of his characters as opposed to their physical manifestations of deviance. The clinical, disquieting tone is somewhat surprising from a director who is considered something of an auteur of vulgarity, not only because of the bizarre qualities of his films, but also because of his tendency to push the boundaries of special effects. Too often, his early work annoys because the effects are deliberately cultish and preposterous (a quality he tempered for his mainstream remake of The Fly). In Dead Ringers, however, he uses an altogether more subtle effect, making twins out of lead Jeremy Irons though computer-aided split screen; the technique has since become much more widespread. Irons' distinguished performance (or rather, performances) makes sure that the technique isn't just a gimmick. Irons won several critics' prizes for his work in the film; many feel the actor should have been nominated for an Oscar as well.