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File:Dead Again poster 4139.jpg

Dead Again is a 1991 film directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Branagh, Emma Thompson, Derek Jacobi and Andy Garcia.

Detective Mike Church is guilted by the priest who raised him into taking the case of a woman he ends up calling Grace. She's amnesiac and suffers from trauma-induced muteness, broken by nightmares in which she can only cry out "somebody help me!" and the word "Disher!". The fact that she turned up at a particular convent indicates she has some connection to the house -- which used to belong to a famous composer named Roman Strauss.

With a little help from a disgraced psychiatrist, Mike and Grace seek out the assistance of a hypnotist, in order to see if hypnosis will bring back her ability to speak in the daytime. When her voice returns in the course of the therapy, the hypnotist decides to try past life regression on both Grace and Mike. Grace's past life reveals a romance between Roman and a woman named Margaret -- and their lives in California as chronicled by a tabloid journalist. As the pieces begin to fall into place, Grace fears that Mike is the reincarnation of the man who killed her in a previous life. The truth is a little stranger than that.

Tropes used in Dead Again include:

  • Actor Allusion: Franklin's stutter is a nice call back to Jacobi's role in I, Claudius.
  • And This Is For: The young Franklin gives this speech as he's stabbing Margaret to death with the scissors.
  • Armchair Psychology: Cozy Carlisle was once a genuine psychiatrist, but was stripped of his right to practice.
  • Bedlam House: The hospital where Mike tries to fob off Grace. It's strictly for women, but the place is full of extreme insanity cases and the staff is clearly either apathetic or overburdened. Mike fancies himself a tough guy detective who doesn't want to be burdened with a woman; but he can't bring himself to leave Grace in a place like this. So he takes her back to his apartment.
  • Cameo: Robin Williams has two brief scenes as disgraced psychiatrist Cozy Carlisle.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Grace
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The Roman and Margaret timeline.
  • Dramatic Stutter
  • Dumb Struck: Grace, until her first hypnotherapy session. (In the DVD Commentary, the writers confess that this was added in a later draft when they realised that all her lines up until that point were just variations on "Sorry, I don't remember".)
  • Easy Amnesia: Well, not entirely easy, but Grace is the amnesiac linchpin of the whole movie.
  • Emerging From the Shadows: The first time we see Roman's face.
  • Fake American: Branagh and Thompson.
  • Flash Back: More past life regression through hypnosis, but you get the idea.
  • Gender Bender: The leads were opposite genders in their past lives (and the actors just swapped roles from the Flash Back to the present day scenes).
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking:
    • Time-appropriate in the Roman and Margaret timeframe: everyone smoked during that time.
    • Mike, the private eye, was pretty much required by the genre to smoke. The Running Gag of the film is that he's trying to quit.
  • Ho Yay: There's an intimate moment between two men in the movie.
  • Hypno Fool: Averted. Mr. Madsen gets people to regress to past lives, but there's no Svengali-like command, or making people act like chickens.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice
  • Life Isn't Fair

 Cozy Carlisle: Hey, thumbdick, I was a damn good shrink. Nineteen years I worked with a lot of people through a lot of shit. OK, I slept with a patient or two. It's not like I didn't care about them. I loved being a doctor. I used to not charge half my patients. Then the fucking state comes along, they send in some bitch undercover, and I'm fucked. Life isn't fair, is it?

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