In 1980 New York, three young men who were all adopted discover that they are triplets who were separated at birth. They describe their lives, and what they've discovered about why they were separated.
It's the Wild West, circa 1870. Samuel Alabaster, an affluent pioneer, ventures across the American frontier to marry the love of his life, Penelope. As his group traverses the west, the once-simple journey grows treacherous, blurring the lines between hero, villain and damsel.
Set in the near-future, technology controls nearly all aspects of life. But when Grey, a self-identified technophobe, has his world turned upside down, his only hope for revenge is an experimental computer chip implant called Stem.
New York, 1980: three complete strangers accidentally discover that they are identical triplets, separated at birth. The 19-year-olds' joyous reunion catapults them to international fame, but it also unlocks an extraordinary and disturbing secret that goes beyond their own lives - and could transform our understanding of human nature forever.
IN BRIEF: A compelling documentary that essentially highlights an unsolved mystery with mixed results.
JIM'S REVIEW: No matter how masterful the mystery, it is the conclusion that matters most. Either the denouncement satisfies or does not. After all the deducing of clues, suspects, and plot twists, the armchair detective needs to experience that euphoric feeling of mission accomplished when unraveling the mystery. Three Identical Strangers is indeed a real-life mystery, an unsolved unethical crime that is stranger than fiction. To reveal anything more of the plot and its events would be the real crime, so let me gingerly describe this fascinating but slightly disappointing documentary with spoilers. The less you know, the more you will enjoy this documentary.
Filmmaker Tim Wardle assembles the characters and tell his story with skill and cunning. He sets up the story using archival footage, interviews, and re-enactments of past events. He slowly lays down the clues of a missing persons mystery while presenting visual asides of his larger plot of conspiracy and complicity that affected the lives of many families.
The primary story involves a set of triplets separated at birth who through a series of strange occurrences find each other. Eddie Galland, Bobby Shafran, and David Kellman are blood brothers, look-alikes whose lives converge to dramatic results. Their story of reconciliation made newspaper headlines and national news programs. The brothers became one big happy family and enjoyed fame and fortune during the 1980's. However, more alarming factors began to emerge for all of the family members which adds to the film's unique interest.
It is Mr. Wardle's storytelling that begins to fray a bit in trying to keep his intriguing mystery spinning without the necessary details to keep everything in motion. Some pieces remain missing or obscure. The mystery angle becomes a cold case file (and still remains somewhat.)
This is not to say that his documentary is not always fascinating. It is. And sometimes the interviewees are quite moving in their retelling of this sad tale. But when the film ended, this reviewer wanted more questions answered.
Three Indentical Strangers remains a good documentary worth seeing. The story is a compelling chronicle of three (or more) lives undone.
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