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.
This film provides examples of:
And This Is for...: The young Franklin gives this speech as he's stabbing Margaret to death with the scissors.
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.
Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon: Roman, when he finds Margaret's body, thereby getting the fingerprints on the murder weapon that contribute to him being convicted of the murder.
Drugs Are Bad: Gray Baker is still alive in Mike's time, and dying of throat cancer from the smoking habit he had during his reporter days. And yet, he's still so addicted that despite having a surgical hole in his throat, he begs Mike for a cigarette and smokes it through his trachia tube.
This inspires a horrified Mike to successfully quit smoking.
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 realized that all her lines up until that point were just variations on "Sorry, I don't remember".)
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. Though he wouldn't mind if you found him the odd bit of antique furniture while regressing.
Inertial Impalement: In the final showdown, the villain charges at Mike and Grace, only to be impaled on, ironically, one of Grace's scissor-nightmare sculptures.
Let Me Get This Straight: Carlisle has this reaction when Mike explains to him that he was Margaret Strauss, and Grace was Roman Strauss.
Cozy Carlisle: Hey, thumbdick, I was a damn good shrink. Sixteen and a half 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. Ain't fair, is it?
Mama Bear: Inverted. Inga protected Frankie for more than 30 years, but he did not display his gratitude appropriately.
Shout-Out: The film contains several shout-outs to Branagh's previous film, an adaptation of Henry V. Roman's prisoner number is the date of the Battle of Agincourt, the Life magazine with the article about about Roman and Margaret is a 1948 issue with a cover story about Laurence Olivier (who also directed and starred in a film version of Henry V), and a fight scene occurs on Los Angeles' Shakespeare Bridge.
Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Inverted; though Robin Williams does appear prominently in the trailer, he's only in three scenes, and isn't listed in the opening credits or the poster. In interviews, Williams said he did this deliberately so he could play against type, and audiences wouldn't assume the movie was a comedy.
With This Ring: Mike asks the amnesiac if she wears her Irish Wedding Band (Claddagh ring) in the "married" or "single" position. He's disappointed to see she wears it in the married position until it's revealed they're a reincarnated husband and wife.