A woman, who's lost her voice and memory, shows up terrified at a Catholic boy's school. The Headmaster calls in his friend, Mike Church (Kenneth Branagh - "Henry V"), a private investigator, to help her find her identity. The woman, whom Church calls Grace (played by Emma Thompson, Branagh's wife) has a recurring nightmare of a man who is convicted of murdering his wife in 1948 by stabbing her with a pair of scissors.
Church puts Grace's picture in the paper hoping someone will recognize her. Instead, an antiques dealer, Franklin Madson (Derek Jacobi), who dabbles in hypnosis answers the ad. Through hypnosis, Grace remembers more and more about the couple, composerRoman Strauss and his wife Margaret. Madson convinces her that she is recalling a past life and that the danger has followed her to the present.
In addition to directing and starring as Mike Church, Branagh also takes on the role ofStrauss in the flashbacks and Thompson plays dual roles of Grace and Margaret. By filming the flashbacks in black and white, Branagh achieves a moody, authentic look.
Branagh and Thompson, both British actors, do a fine job with their double roles, using British accents in the flashbacks and American accents in the present.
The supporting cast is a juicy trio of odd characters; Andy Garcia is a sleazy, chain smoking reporter, Rob in Williams plays an ex-psychiatrist - turned - butcher and Jacobi is a smooth operator who won't pass up a piece of furniture at a bargain price. The plot is intriguing and keeps the audience guessing. It is a well thought-out, well acted, classy thriller.