The loopy drama "The Identical" takes an intriguing "what if" scenario — what if Elvis Presley’s stillborn twin brother had lived? — and spins it into something truly bizarre.
The film starts in Depression-era Alabama, where the dirt-poor Hemsleys (Brian Geraghty, Amanda Crew) make the hard decision to give one of their twin baby boys to Reece Wade (Ray Liotta), a traveling evangelist, and his wife, Louise (Ashley Judd), who is unable to have children. The Wades raise their boy, Ryan (played by newcomer Blake Rayne), to preach the gospel, but Ryan is more interested in making music. He enters a contest singing like rock star Drexel Hemsley (also played by Rayne), which leads to a lucrative career impersonating Drexel on the state-fair circuit.
Opens Friday, Sept. 5, at area theaters; rated PG for thematic material and smoking; 107 minutes.
Director Duncan Marcellino manages to capture the Elvis vibe without naming the source directly (for legal reasons, no doubt), but also throws in left-field references to Jewish culture. (For example, in a movie that spans decades, historical events like JFK’s assassination or the civil-rights movement are ignored, but the Arab-Israeli Six Day War is a pivotal milestone.)
It’s not "Sharknado"-level bad, but "The Identical" is a weirdly entertaining head-scratcher of a movie.
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