From out of the blue comes a film titled The Identical. If you go into it without any beforehand information it takes a while to realize it is a "what if" account of Elvis Presley's life. The "what if" starts with the fact Elvis was born a twin. His brother died at birth. This movie takes the twin fact and adds to it, creating a scenario where the future rock star had a twin brother who was given up for adoption when he was one day old. This unknown twin grew up to become an imitator of the star and got the nickname of The Identical.
In the film the "lost" brother is given to a preacher and his wife to raise. The time is the depression era and William and Helen Hemsley (Brian Geraghty and Amanda Crew) cannot afford to raise their twin sons. They think they can manage with one so they make the crucial decision to ask Reece Wade and his wife Louise (Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd) to take one of the twins. The Wades take the boy home and name him Ryan Wade.
Reece wants Ryan (Blake Rayne) to follow in his footsteps and go to seminary, He feels God has a calling for the boy. Ryan, however, is drawn to music and has a fantastic singing voice, but he sublimates his dreams for his father's wishes. Meanwhile there is a superstar on the rise and his name is Drexel Hemsley (also played by Rayne).
The more popular Drexel becomes the more people tell Ryan how much he looks and acts like the superstar. Louise thinks it is time they told Ryan the truth but Reece is bound by the promise he made to Ryan's biological father not to tell the secret.
The plot is a bit exaggerated but it works for the most part and this is because of the talent of the actors involved. Liotta is totally convincing as Reece He brings compassion to his relationship with Ryan, and also faithfully portrays the zealotry of a devout preacher. Opposite him Judd has her best role in years. Louise is serene and loving, a mother any son could love.
The surprise of the film is Rayne. He is quite the find as he has the Elvis look as well as an attention grabbing singing voice. He seems to have been created to play this role. Die hard Elvis fans should latch on to him and make him a star.
The movie is rated PG for some mild adult situations.
The Identical is a movie that should be seen for the discovery of Blake Rayne if for nothing else. But it also has an interesting storyline, and solid performances by Liotta and Judd. Throw in some hummable tunes and you have a movie satisfactory for the entire family. Some may shrug it off as a run of the mill faith based film but they would be selling it way to short. This movie entertains - totally. Believe me on that.
I scored The Identical a unique 7 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper