How would you feel if you turned a corner and saw yourself? Not just a two-dimensional mirror image, but a living and breathing double. The rush of feelings and questions must be extraordinary. For Robert Shafran, David Kellman and Eddy Galland it happened not once but twice! The triplets first met at age 19 in 1980… all a spitting image of the other, it was love at first sight and wasn’t long before they were rumbling on the ground. Adopted after being separated at birth, this bizarre reunion story is amazing, incredible even. Stranger than fiction, their magical reunion went viral in an age before the Internet with the triplets appearing on talk shows, in newspapers, in magazines and even a movie at the time.
Bumping into your double is the underlying wish fulfillment at play in Three Identical Strangers. While it would almost be enough to coast on their monumental Disney moment and true story alone, it’s only the tip of the peak. Starting like a pulpy and surreal “believe it or not” yarn, the quick-paced film shifts gear into the realm of mystery as a deep-seated conspiracy around their adoption agency starts to surface. Interviewing two of the triplets, their family and friends decades later, it soon becomes apparent that something much more sinister is at play as unanswered questions fester.
As the documentarians investigate the underlying mystery, we get a glimpse of much darker motivations behind their separation. Absorbing, chilling, entertaining and full of emotion, Three Identical Strangers gets to grips with the story behind the feel good through television interviews, photographs and newspaper clippings with some dramatisation for effect.
While their bizarre reconnect is the focus, it moves into the territory of nature vs nurture as the young men compare their lives then and through the wisdom of time decades later. As nostalgic as it is magic, the quest to find answers relating to their separation reveals a number of worrying signs, which make more sense in this retrospective. Wardle captures the joy and frustration of his subjects, asking tough questions and getting honest answers.
While joyful and spirited, celebrating their near-miraculous first encounter, it moves with urgency and suspense trying to unlock answers that still remain a secret. With twists-and-turns to boggle the mind, it will probably be adapted into a wild mystery comedy drama with next level CGI to rival The Social Network and a big star. Right now this bizarre story and captivating documentary is as good as it gets!
The bottom line: Bewildering