The Identical

Movie:  The Identical

Rating:  3 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:  It is 1935, and the Great Depression still has the people of Decateur, Alabama by the throat.  A young couple named Hemsley have just had twins, but not even two nickels to rub together to care for them.  The Reverend Reece Wade (Ray Liotta) and his wife Louise (Ashley Judd) cannot have children, so in desperation the Hemsleys keep baby Drexel, and baby Dexter becomes Ryan Wade (Rayne Blake).  The switch is a dark secret known only to the parents.

The clean-cut son of a preacher Ryan is being groomed by his father to follow in his footsteps, but Ryan burns to sing music.  And in the 1950s Rock n Roll was busting out for the young generation to dance to, and Ryan haunted the local honky-tonks on the sly to hear that music.    When Ryan sees albums in the stores for Drexel “The Dream” Hemsley, he wants to sing all the more, especially when people tell him how much he looks like Drexel.

Yes, for folks familiar with the life story of Elvis Presley, there are a whole lot of similarities in this film.  As a matter of fact, Rayne Blake’s main claim to fame before this movie was being one of the world’s eminent Elvis impersonators.  Rayne has the good looks, and a killer voice, so the movie is a fun ride even if it is not especially original.

Actors To Watch:  Ray Liotta has made a living playing tough cops and tougher bad guys.  It is a nice change of pace seeing Liotta playing a preacher in this role with his usual class and dynamic personality.  Also great to see talented character actor Joe Pantoliano (Guido the “Killer Pimp” from Risky Business).

Huh?  What the….:  The story takes place over the course of 36 years, and Ray Liotta’s hair goes white, and he’s noticeably feeble in old age.  Ashley Judd shows her age by basically putting on a pair of glasses; otherwise, looks the same in her “later years”.

Dialogue Nuggets:  “You’re not going to believe who this isn’t!”

“These people are paying to hear Drexel the Dream, not Ryan the Dream.”

“A Christian and a Jew, the same guy.  He said he was covering all his bases.”

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