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Critics reviews
Three Identical Strangers
Tim Wardle United States, 2018
With its frequent dramatizations, zippy editing, and song-driven soundtrack, “Three Identical Strangers” may be said to indulge in the most potentially egregious of mainstreaming devices used in contemporary documentaries. Yet because the story itself is so, well, juicy, and the subjects one-time pop culture phenoms, the approach feels acceptable if not entirely “right.”
June 29, 2018
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It’s a startling story, and Wardle tells it well. There’s a jaunty playfulness to the early scenes, which gradually morph into something darker, more introspective and open-ended.
June 29, 2018
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The film is an artfully constructed investigative narrative structured to give us the sense of discovering, along with the boys and their families, several layers of buried secrets and lies that blighted their adult lives. If ever a story called for multiple narratives and deep digging into the past it’s this one.
June 28, 2018
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Mr. Wardle brings you into this grabber of a story effortlessly with a lively, nimble mix of archival imagery, contemporary interviews and some unnecessary fictional re-creations.
June 27, 2018
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If only they’d been allowed to speak of their lives at length. David investigates the experiment late in the documentary, with Wardle shooting him as he calls the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, though this proves to be another moment that’s cut short for the sake of filmic momentum.
June 27, 2018
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There is value in seeing the brothers, well-rehearsed in their verbal paces though they obviously are, in their present-day form, as well during their media peak. . . . There are some decisions I found flat-out irritating: the increasing application of Schindler’s List violin in Paul Saunderson’s score to hammer home the tragedy of it all in the third act, the hand-holding decision to show again, at the end of each act, footage we’ve just seen not five or ten minutes earlier in a new context.
January 19, 2018
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While this is standard talking-head TV, Strangers is distinguished by its persistent approach to the investigative documentary, framing a story but not content to leave it in an easy box. Technically it’s competent, with a distinguishing feature being the archival footage of the triplets, bringing their sweet smiles easily back to life, and a probing soundtrack from Paul Saunderson helping distract from the artificiality of the reconstructions.
January 19, 2018
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