by Travis Noriega
“Three Identical Strangers” is a film best experienced knowing as little as possible about its specifics. With that being said, the annotated version of this review is as follows: “Three Identical Strangers” is at times both heart-warming and spine-chilling. It is a fascinating look at the tabloid news story of three identical brothers separated at birth and the more sinister story behind how the circumstance came to be. A definite recommend.
If there are those who still need more convincing, then welcome to the rest of the review. Let’s begin where the movie does-when Bobby Shafran goes to college and discovers he has a double. The film begins with Bobby narrating his arrival at Sullivan Community College in New York and the unusually warm greeting he receives. Among the hugs and handshakes, students are also referring to him as Eddy, to his increasing confusion. Finally, he meets a friend of this mysterious Eddy, and through him eventually meets Eddy. His double and long-lost brother.
Documentary aficionados will no doubt immediately notice the use of dramatic recreations. The use of reenactments in documentary films has been hotly debated repeatedly and I won’t opine on the subject at large in this review. However, I will say that in “Three Identical Strangers” they are tasteful, artistic and unobtrusive. After that, something I found greatly aided the film was the candid framing of the current day interviews of the brothers and various others involved. It creates a similar feeling of a friend telling you an unbelievable story.
Once Eddy and Bobby have met their story explodes and becomes a media phenomenon, their incredible story sweeps the nation, finding its way to a man named David-a man who looks identical to the two other men. Now the extraordinary story spawns an even wilder media circus. While the brothers enjoy their newfound fame, their families become angry, and attempt to seek answers from the adoption agency that originally split up the brothers up to begin with. It is here where the film begins to take a turn, dropping hints as to the darker story that has been lying just under the surface of this seemingly happy reunion.
The film delves into the ongoing nature vs nurture debate of human psychology, the ethics of psychological studies, and the heart-breaking progression of the brother’s story.
“Three Identical Strangers” will be showing as part of the Kilgore Film Festival at 4 Star Cinema through Saturday. Find a chance to see it, I promise it’ll stay with you after the credits roll. For more information, go to https://kilgorefilmfestival.com. This movie is also available on Blu-Ray and Digital.