Mini-Review: Three Identical Strangers
Three Identical Strangers is the engrossing, can't-believe-it's-true story of three strangers that are reunited by an astonishing coincidence after being born identical triplets, separated at birth, and adopted by three different families. Helmed by director Tim Wardle in what will most assuredly be his breakthrough film, this documentary continues to morph and will leave your jaw dangling on the floor.
Wardle expertly blends interview storytelling with reenactments and archive footage to take you on a dark and heartbreaking ride that is stranger than fiction. Had this been pitched as a "based on a true story" fictional film, it most likely would be turned down on the grounds that it feels too outlandish to have any basis in reality, but those who grew up in the 80s may recall the miraculous chance encounter of David Kellman, Bobby Shafran and Eddy Galland, as it was plastered all over the papers and talk shows.
The film sucks you in immediately with its energetic burst out of the gates, and as it wears on, you become more and more intwined in the ever-morphing narrative, which turns a joyous chance encounter into tragedy and frustration through the discovery of the somewhat sinister and disturbing motivations behind the triplets separation. As more and more questions are raised, the concept of nature versus nurture and mental illness become a primary focus, and while the film offers no conclusive answers, it leaves you with much to chew on regarding both topics.
Watching the brothers interact and charting their rise is an exhilarating thrill, but the downfall and revelation of their separation, while intriguing, is not an easy watch. At times, it will downright chill your spine with its twists and break your heart with its tragedy. The editing and arrangement of archival footage isn't always as energetic as the storytellers or reenactments, and it becomes a pain during moments when revelations are made, as clips we've already seen several times before are played to really hammer on the point, which is fairly obvious to anyone paying close attention. This, coupled with the inconclusive findings and the myriad of questions raised, drags the film down a peg.
Ultimately, the strong start fizzles out to a pulsing murmur due to the somber underpinnings and the inability to answer the questions it raises. Still, the ride, the experience and unbelievable story make Three Identical Strangers well worth the price of admission.
Rating: 4 TV appearances outta 5.
What do you think? Could you believe this crazy tale is true? Did the lack of conclusive evidence intrigue or frustrate you? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always, remember to viddy well!