David Cronenberg’s 1988 psychological thriller about twin gynaecologists descending into mania featured surgical instruments “so misshapen and disturbing, it was difficult to watch without squirming”, said Barbara Ellen in The Observer. Now the film has been made into a six-part series for Amazon Prime, with the lead roles gender reversed, and it’s also pretty extreme: “I haven’t seen this much gushing blood since the lift scene in The Shining.”
Rachel Weisz stars as Elliot and Beverly Mantle, who were played by Jeremy Irons in the film. Although the sisters have radically different personalities, they are trapped in the “sickly sweet toxicity of their twindom”, and will swap identities when it suits them. There are too many subplots, but Weisz “slips on the dual skins” with such “campy relish” that it’s hard not to enjoy the drama.
Weisz manages to make the series at once “more interesting and less creepy” than the Cronenberg film, said Camilla Long in The Sunday Times; but she is “upstaged” by Jennifer Ehle, playing a “heartless heiress” who is thinking of investing $16m into the twins’ “birthing centre”. Ehle is still best known for Pride and Prejudice, but her performance reminded me of how good an actress she is: “intense, menacing, precise”.
The series is almost flawless, said Elizabeth Gregory in the Evening Standard. The dialogue is brilliant, and the drama “keeps its momentum to the end”, building to a shocking finale that is “perfectly at one with the rest of this fantastic piece of work”.
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