I should note here that the documentary features talking-head interviews with only Alex and Marcus separately. The cinematography by Erik Alexander Wilson and Patrick Smith in Tell Me Who I Am is innovative and gorgeous to watch. It plays beautifully with depth of field and is compelling to watch. Let’s face it. Watching a guy talk for 90-minutes is dull, so you’ve got to make those visuals interesting. As Alex describes what like to have amnesia, director Perkins employs effective visual effects as emphasis to Alex’s description. You get a deeper understanding of amnesia that is more authentic than Hollywood-versions of it.
But sadly, this isn’t a film about amnesia. Years later, Alex and Marcus’ father died just after asking for forgiveness from his son. Alex was more than willing, but Marcus just walked away. Then their mother passes. Alex is sobbing, but Marcus is stoic. Upon returning to their parents’ cottage, Alex discovers a mysterious wardrobe full of coats with the secret door. Finding the key, Alex opens it and walks into a strange wintery land full of Turkish delight…sorry, wrong story. No, Alex opens it and walks into a secret room with strange objects in a cabinet and a horrifying picture of Alex and Marcus.
“The two may be damaged, but they are just as equally insightful…”
We then transition to chapter two, Marcus’ story. It’s here we discover that Marcus has been keeping a secret about his parents ever since the accident. This secret calls into question everything Alex knew of his life up to that point. And the real documentary is off and running. The twins would become estranged, and Alex finds himself lost with no rudder. As you would imagine, chapter three is the brothers confronting one another after years of separation.
Tell Me Who I Am is an incredible real-life mystery about my favorite subject…being human. The accident took place when Alex was eighteen, and jump to today, the brothers are probably in their fifties. For Alex, the past thirty years is a long time to struggle with one’s identity. For Marcus, he knew what he did was wrong, but kept it hidden for what he thought was the right reasons. Emotions run rampant, and we’re the voyeurs just watching the family tragedy all unfold.
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that this story of Alex and Marcus is worth watching. The two may be damaged, but they are just as equally insightful at the same time. But it’s director Ed Perkins meticulous use of cinematography (as noted earlier), visual effects, lighting, editing, and a score that elevates the documentary to must-see viewing. No “trick” is wasted. Everything shot and effect is specifically designed to tell this story, and it works brilliantly. Your heart will break and mends itself magically by the end.
"…Alex jokes that he lost his virginity…twice."