19th Oct2018

‘Three Identical Strangers’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Silvi Alzetta-Reali, Eddy Galland, Ron Guttman, Natasha Josefowitz, David Kellman, Evan LeRose, Adrian Lichter, Andrew Lovesey, Scotty Murray, Robert Shafran, David Straus, Rachel VanDuzer | Directed by Tim Wardle

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Three strangers are reunited by astonishing coincidence after being born identical triplets, separated at birth, and adopted by three different families. Their jaw-dropping, feel-good story instantly becomes a global sensation complete with fame and celebrity, however, the fairy-tale reunion sets in motion a series of events that unlocks an extraordinary and disturbing secret that goes beyond their own lives – and could transform our understanding of human nature forever.

Tim Wardle’s documentary Three Identical Strangers may be one of the most contextually absurd and devastating documentaries within the genre of cinema. In the world of the exposè crime documentary, made binge-worthy famous by Netflix, an influx of crime “did they/didn’t they?” ventures – ranging from the insanely huge public OJ Simpson trial and the little known Wisoncsin case of Steven Avery – has opened the floodgates for any and, seemingly, every case with strange or bizarre occurrences. Three Identical Strangers isn’t your usual and typical foray of such sub-genre. For what starts as an eerie coincidence of sorts unravels into something so spectacular and dark, even the bizarre and intoxicating mystique of events decends into a manner of pure haunting evil.

The production design of Wardle’s film is the easiest aspect of production that’s susceptible to criticism. It isn’t poor by any means but undoubtedly cheap and somewhat flimsy. The down to earth blue collar intended effect is felt with sincerity but lights little fire in the imagination, especially concerning the recreated narrative events, that equally evoke very little confidence. However, these instances of small budget stumbling blocks do little to knock the overall narrative or the sheer haunting factor of the triplets story. As stated above, for what begins as a seemingly harmless coincidence, quickly takes another bizarre turn, then another and then another. This occurring disturbance takes the form of unpredicatble fear and awe with daunting emotional weight in its wake. Being somewhat sparse about the events that occur in the film itself is an overly conscious decision on my part, due to the unbelievable twists and turns that develop throughout this crushing story of three lives churned and spat out of lies and deception. To even be suggestible of any events that occur would be detrimental to the viewer’s experience.

To believe such events even occurred one is left shaken to the core of believability and accountability of the actions of others on this planet. The questioning of nature vs nurture, science or spectacle are just a few topics of calamitous intoxication. Both sides of the argument are present and the subjects themselves speculate and lean on the themes and justifying of such horror to an eerie and poignant fashion.

Three Identical Strangers is set for a UK release on November 30th, courtesy of Dogwoof.

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