I feel very much that the running time has a lot to do with Cronenberg's economic style. That's part of what makes him such a great director, he never puts in a scene too much - every scene is functional within the whole.
Dead Ringers is the first of his films to run close to two hours, 'til that point they all run around 90 minutes. Only Scanners and Dead Zone are a little longer, around 100.
Agree. I love Cronenberg's earlier films: Scanners, Videodrome (also '83 if memory serves correct?), The Brood. Great stuff. He lost me a little bit at Dead Ringers. That's not his fault, it's mine. When I watched it I was younger and expecting the crazy body horror stuff that he was known for at that time. Instead I got this psychological thriller/drama that I wasn't ready for. I think it needs a re-watch. I do recall that Jeremy Irons is terrific in the film - go figure. What isn't Jeremy Irons terrific in?