The Identical tells the compelling story of Ryan Wade, a young man of many musical abilities hoping these talents will take him to the big time. What stands in his way is his father, a successful pastor whose dreams for his son are much different and center around the ministry and pastoring a church.
Meanwhile, another young man is taking the world by storm with his new style of music, and his appearance and talents mirror those of Ryan.
Ryan is a dead ringer for this superstar, Drexel Hemsley, and he builds a successful career as a Drexel impersonator known as The Identical. The secret behind this similarity propels the story forward.
Newcomer Blake Rayne plays Ryan (and Drexel), and viewers will notice parallels between this fictionalized account of Ryan and Drexel and the real-life Elvis Presley story. This is in part due to Blake’s resemblance to Elvis and the fact that his real-life career is as an Elvis impersonator. But the story parallels Elvis as well, and embracing this element of the film allows the viewers some inside fun.
As an actor, Blake holds his own and carries the film well. He does a great job with the emotional roller coaster of his on-screen characters, and he handles the dual roles with equal aplomb. And it doesn’t hurt to be surrounded by an all-star cast.
See the trailer below:
Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Field of Dreams) is incredible in his juicy role as Ryan’s preacher father: from fire and brimstone preaching to delicate counseling, through anger and sadness, all the while aging from a young man to an old man, he is phenomenal as Reece Wade. Equally impressive and enjoyable to watch is Ashley Judd (Divergent, Dolphin Tale 2) as Ryan’s mother and the preacher’s wife. She too moves through many ages and emotions in this convincing portrayal, arguably one of her best roles in years.
The rest of the all-star cast is no less stellar. Seth Green (Austin Powers, Family Guy) plays Ryan’s friend and band mate Dino, who introduces Ryan to the “worldly joy of rhythm and blues.” Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker, Ray Donovan) and Amanda Crew (Charlie St. Cloud) appear as Drexel’s father and mother. Joe Pantaliano (The Sopranos, The Matrix) is Ryan’s employer and mentor, and Erin Cottrell (the Love Comes Softly series) portrays Ryan’s wife. This all-star cast is top notch.
The Identical is an extremely good-looking movie with a well-executed production, and the attention to detail in recreating several historical time periods (yes, not one, but four) is stunning. No short cuts here: with many period automobiles and trucks (and one gorgeous motorcycle), the sets are simply amazing, and the costuming is spot-on and very detailed. Five stars for Production Designer Keith Brian Burns and Costume Designer Karyn Wagner.
This film is being promoted as a faith-based film, and there are elements of religion throughout this picture. However, it is not an in-your-face conversion sort of picture, nor one filled with sermons from the pulpit. No, this movie merely tells a compelling story wrapped in a religious worldview, filled with religious people, and with religion presented as “normal” or a basic way of life.
Refreshing indeed, and the kind of movie many in the industry say is lacking. Most movies are either extremely secularized or extremely “religious,” with nothing in between. The Identical, however, is a good solid family movie with a moral worldview. Kudos to the producers for this, and hopefully this will become a trend in Christian and Hollywood films.
The Identical is rated PG for thematic elements and brief drinking and smoking, it is still the perfect movie to enjoy with your family, appropriate for tween, teens, parents and grandparents.
Ryan Wade is driven by his dreams, but he is challenged by his father’s certainty that he should go into the ministry. That conviction is hard to argue against, especially when you are trying to do God’s will. Surely God wants everyone to go into ministry! But while that may be true, not everyone is cut out to be a pastor. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says:
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Wade is not feeling the call to the pastoral ministry, but he still thinks his dreams are for the common good and that singing is what God has in mind for him. The Apostle Paul addresses this further in 1 Corinthians 12:
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Since there are many needs for the church, there are many people who have specific talents to fill these needs. We all need to discover whatGod is calling us to do and set out to accomplish it for Him. If you don’t do what God has called you to do, it won’t get done. Again from 1 Corinthians 12:
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
Finally, all the parts are important and no part is too small. All duties and jobs are essential, and if one piece is missing, the puzzle will not be complete. 1 Corinthians 12:
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
God knew what He was doing when He created all of us. We are all called to do our particular part, and He promises us in Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Like Ryan Wade, follow your calling and be yourself. After all, there is no one else like you.
For more on the movie, check out ‘The Identical’s Blake Rayne Chats with SCH about His Starring Role.
Purchase your copy of The Identical today at the SCH Store!
For more information about this author, movie critic, and filmmaker, visit Dale Ward’s Official Website.