Blake Rayne Ray Liotta Ashley Judd Seth Green
There are few times in my career of viewing films where I have become so uncomfortable, endured mental pain from watching a film. The Identical is the quasi- religious journey of a twin brother separated at birth, trying to live his live for himself and not his father who is a local preacher. If that were the main premise, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. However The Identical is also a film about perusing the dream of music as our main character is supposed to be an Elvis like figure, however the producers couldn’t secure the rights for the name, music or the film, so everything is just eluded to the fact that he looks, sounds and moves like the iconic singer. It’s a smorgasbord of sappy clichés, predicable outcomes and unbelievably absurd performances and dialogue.
Unable to support twins, William (Brian Geraghty) and Helen (Amanda Crew) feel a higher calling to hand over one of their infants to a local tent revival preacher (Liotta) and his barren wife (Judd). The agreement is not to reveal the true identity of the parents until after they are deceased. Reece and Louise Wade raise their child named Ryan (Rayne) in the ways of the church. Pressuring his son to answer the same pastoral calling, Reece and Ryan develop a strenuous father/son relationship when he chooses to pursue a career in Rock & Roll music over God’s word. His biggest inspiration is worldwide singing sensation Drexel Hemsley who everyone he encounters exclaim at their similarities.
The first scene of Liotta (and actor relentlessly cast for his on screen temper and short fuse) screams and yells as the most unbelievable preacher I have seen on screen in a while. If his casting wasn’t bad enough, later in the film when the birth mother is on her death bed, aided by her mid-twenty-year-old son, the director doesn’t bother using makeup for aging or cast an elderly actress, no sir, it’s the same fresh face we saw in the prologue right after she gave birth. I guess we are just supposed to overlook it and give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s an inconsistency so vial, so voluntarily lazy that I gave up on the film right then and there.
“When the music started, it was like a fire erupted in him,” the voice over explains of Ryan when he starts singing and moving. Slathered in stupidity, anything inspirational that might have been derived out of this experienced is ruined about like a pastor caught at a strip club. The only people in the theater that seemed to be able to ignore all of the atrocities I have mentioned and still find joy or entertainment, were the ones who looked like they hadn’t seen anything on the screen since Leave it to Beaver or the Andy Griffith’s show. The Identical disgraces the religious based genre, the music genre and should easily serve as the biggest embarrassment to Judd and Liotta’s career of work.
Final Thought – I have had kidney stones less painful than watching The Identical.
By: Dustin Chase