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Movie Review: Three Identical Strangers on Netflix

MovieThree Identical Strangers
GenreDocumentary
LanguageEnglish
TNS Score89.66
PlatformNetflix
Release2018
CastEdward Galland, David Kellman, and Robert Shafran
DirectorTim Wardle

Summary:

The narrative revolves around the true story of triplets, who were separated at birth just to reunite in their early 20’s. When two brothers, out of three, met and became famous because of their story, the third brother got to know of their existence. This then led to them finding and getting to know each other with glee and excitement. The celebrations didn’t last long as they dwelled upon the initial reasons of their separation. It was found that these three individuals were adopted from the same adoption agency and were subjects to a psychological experiment conducted in the 1960’s, headed by the psychologist, Peter Neubauer.

Narrative Structure:

The story has been told very well, focusing on each angle with raw precision. The big ethical question of this scientist experiment, involving human subjects who couldn’t have given a consensus, builds the foundation of the narrative.

It runs in a chronological manner starting from the coincidental acquaintance of two brothers, following the entry of the third brother. It moves on with their freshly constructed (or deconstructed) lives, where they start a restaurant chain by the name of ‘Triplets.’ What shadows this almost fairy-tale, is the ambiguity of the experiment they’ve been subjected to.

Direction:

The documentary focuses on the narrative of these triplets, telling a true-life story with perfection. The direction is great and you can make that out right in the beginning, when we are introduced to the protagonists by descriptive narration and display of their first meetings. It captures all the angles with brilliance, the psychologist Peter Neubauer’s assistant who worked on this experiment with him was also interviewed.

The scene in which Eddy’s suicide was discussed along with the events that followed it, was heart-wrenching. It was such a smooth built-up that, the one could almost feel the pain and anguish in the other two brothers. In terms of cinematography, a raw aesthetic has been used with some elements of fiction, to help the audience visualize the truth better. The angles complement the narrative in general.

Reception:

The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Storytelling. The film was a nominee in the Best Documentary category at the 72nd British Academy Film Awards. It was also on the shortlist of 15 films considered for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, out of 166 candidates.

Conclusion:

It’s a heart-rending story about not just the triplets, but many other twins in the background, who were separated at birth and used as lab-rats. As an outcome of this inhumane experiment, they had to undergo severe trauma of separation. It’s important to watch the documentary to realise and condemn the idea of scientific developments and emerging theories, at the cost of several human lives. You cannot miss watching this film!

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