Prepare to be surprised by joy, at the outset, and to wind up baffled and sad. Not that the saga is complete; many of the relevant files, at Yale, will not be unsealed until 2066. Less than fifty years to go. I can’t wait.
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Wardle allows the details to roll out with impact, and even some insight. Curiosity for the grand genetic schemes is a great sell, but the human element, the lament for lost time, truth, and family? That sticks at the end.
Wardle spent five years making Three Identical Strangers after several other filmmakers had given up on this subject because they were always hitting a dead end, and so he deserves credit for journalistic doggedness and also for making a documentary that plays like a nerve-jangling thriller.
Director Tim Wardle lays a lot on the strength of the events he’s covering, and they are indeed compelling enough on their own to hold your interest. The flipside of this is that the film has little power outside of a first viewing.
This is a strange, ultimately quite distressing story touched by tragedy, told by Wardle with great skill and compassion in a brisk, consistently absorbing package.
Three Identical Strangers does a solid job laying out a story that’s both remarkable and repulsive in equal measures.
Where some see coincidence, Wardle finds a true-life conspiracy, and pursues it all the way to conclusion after gripping conclusion.
Mr. Wardle relates that story smoothly and persuasively, but his telling sometimes provokes more questions than it answers.
So bizarre is this story that its most mundane aspects take on a certain profundity. Even when Three Identical Strangers falters, it fascinates, and that’s a claim very few documentaries can make.
A gripping, stranger-than-fiction account of a real-world medical conspiracy, the film begins as a human-interest story and builds to an impressive work of investigative journalism into how and why they were placed with the families who raised them.