This miniseries opened with someone who was in a library praying loudly to God that he would make sacrifices. As the staff and visitors were confused and tried to stop him, this person raised a machete in his left hand - which shocked everyone around him - and continued cutting off his right hand. This brutal scene indeed quickly raises the tension in the story, and this is not the scariest scene I Know This Much Is True has .
This is not a miniseries that is easy to digest, because of how depressing the story is. For six episodes, I was consistently hit with the bad luck of the main character and I increasingly woke up to my cynical side of this miniseries directed by Derek Cianfrance ( Blue Valentine , The Place Beyond the Pines ). When I thought everything was going to be all right, another problem arose that didn't hit the main character but also brought down any hopes he had.
Set around the 1990s in a city located in Three Rivers, Connecticut, we are told by a pair of twins named Dominick and Thomas Birdsey. Both are amazingly played by Mark Ruffalo. Both are adults, but Dominick must always take care of Thomas because he has schizophrenia which makes him always paranoid with the world around him and always worrying about things he shouldn't be worried about. The person who cut off his hand in the opening scene was Thomas because he believed that by cutting off his hand he could stop the Gulf War between the United States and Iraq.
After being taken to the hospital, Dominick quickly visited his brother. Thomas didn't want his hand reattached, but doctors asked Dominick to sign on a letter to allow his doctor to reconnect his right hand. Finally Dominick did not sign because he said that for the first time in 20 years Thomas was determined to something. This relationship is what perfectly describes the relationship between the two for the next six episodes.
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My brother ruined everything. I feel sorry for him. And angry. And embarrassed, "Dominick when remembering his past with Thomas.
I don't know what it's like to have twins, because I only have a younger sibling. And I can only imagine how difficult it would be for a lifetime to live with a brother who has a mental illness like Thomas. But looking at Dominick, I can feel it. With him, I can somehow relate and feel how painful and chaotic his life is. And that's almost a hundred percent thanks to the appearance of Mark Ruffalo as the two main characters.
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Playing two very different characters in one film always amazes me (just look at Legend starring Tom Hardy), especially if it's a miniseries containing six episodes like I Know This Much Is True . It is not uncommon for Dominick and Thomas to appear on one screen, and Mark Ruffalo can play both of them so perfectly I often don't even realize that they are played by the same actor. The technicalities are awesome, but the acting is brilliant especially to portray one character who is always depressed while the other is a character who is always paranoid.
I read in an article on Variety , that Mark Ruffalo needs to lose 15 pounds or about 7 kg to shoot as Dominick. He then took a six-week break to gain 30 pounds or 13 kg to return to filming and play Thomas. As Thomas, actor Gabe Fazio (known from A Star Is Born ) will play a double role for Dominick and with special effects and editingthe smart one he will change to be Mark Ruffalo so that there are two Marks with different appearances on one screen. I don't really understand how they can combine the two Mark Ruffalo but I am still amazed by the results.
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Not only was I amazed by how they were able to combine the two Mark Ruffalo, but I was also amazed by how dark this miniseries were. Is that a good thing? Maybe yes, maybe not but I Know This Much Is True looks like it's very committed to giving a story that is so depressing and so cynical that every episode doesn't have the slightest bright spot. And that indeed makes the miniseries adapted from the novel of the same name difficult to watch.
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Thomas wasn't Dominick's only problem. He also recently divorced from his wife because their infant daughter died. Dominick's mother also recently died. He doesn't know his biological father because his mother keeps it a secret. If he looked like the most unlucky person in the world, it was true because he himself said that he and his family were cursed. Moreover, she did not have a smooth relationship with her stepfather, so she felt completely alone in dealing with all her problems.
The whole incident may indeed be important to add a sense of "gloom" to the story, but there is one part of the first episode that I really dislike and even wonder why it exists. It is the part when the journalist for his grandfather Dominick's journal, Nedra (Juliette Lewis) comes to Dom's residence and tries to seduce him by playing loud music and getting closer. When Dom tries to deny it, Nedra throws a tantrum and threatens to report to Dessa (Kathryn Hahn), Dom's ex-wife, if Dom sexually harasses him. What is the purpose of that scene, I thought?
But from all of Dominick's bad luck, there is one character that I like because every time he appears, he always offers optimism to Dominick and he is the only friend Dominick has. Leo (Rob Huebel), who is his friend from college and now works as a car salesman, always tries to help Dominick, even though he initially hesitates to help Dom in things that maybe not many people will do. Dominick needs help? Come to Leo. He needs a chat partner? Come to Leo. Need a place to rest besides the place where you live? Come to Leo's workplace.
What stuck with me was the ending that offered a sense of optimism and I, after six hours of being beset by a persistent depressive tale, found myself feeling out of place with the optimistic tone and hope that emerged at the end of the season. The first few episodes I had been waiting for when things would turn out for the better for Dominick and Thomas, but after five episodes of hopelessness, I felt a little strange when I felt a new feeling of hope that emerged at the end of the sixth episode. I wasn't even used to seeing the tone of the story rise from that depression.
Mark Ruffalo does the two main characters perfectly, which makes this his show. The miniseries are also able to carry a variety of really tough themes in six hours. But I don't seem to be able to recommend I Know This Much Is True to others because it's the same as recommending a depression pill to other people. Unless they are really curious about the story or how Mark Ruffalo is in this miniseries, then I invite them to watch it.
- Hearing his name, I was reminded of the action film starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arteton released in 2013, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters .