I Know This Much Is True sees Mark Ruffalo (Avengers: Endgame) portraying twin brothers Thomas and Dominick, the former of whom is in a mental institution after committing a horrendous act in a public library, with a machete, in which he has… well, I’ll put the reason behind a spoiler header below, so you can avoid that if you don’t want to know in advance, as it’s not revealed straight away.
We’re then told how Dominick sees his brother once a week, on a Sunday, taking him out for lunch before Thomas is returned to the institution in which he has to reside, but over six episodes, his aim is to get him out of there and back into society, but given how his condition as a paranoid schizophrenic causes him to behave, in my view, the institution is really the best place for him to be.
Amongst the rest of the cast, the most well-known member to me is Juliette Lewis, who plays translator Nedra Frank, who Dominick tasks with translating a large piece of text from his late grandfather, as he wants it translated from Italian to English. However, as you’ll see in the first episode, she’s clearly got some bizarre issues going on, so that adds something extra to her character – but then when did Miss Lewis ever play a normally-balanced character?
And yes, I’ve only seen one episode so far because… that’s all that is available. I’m surprised they haven’t put out all six episodes in this limited series at the same time, as that’s usually the way these days, but it’s weekly.
However, aren’t you going to get confused with Mark Ruffalo playing both roles? Surprisingly, not, as their characters are wildly different; and you can differentiate between them by the fact that Dominick is the only one to sport facial hair, with a goatee. Plus, in the story, as newborns, they made the headlines in 1950 because one was born on New Year’s Day, and the other, just before midnight. Okay, so you wouldn’t have been able to differentiate them at that time, since neither of them looked like Ruffalo, but anyway.
As a drama, I didn’t think I’d get into I Know This Much Is True when I first saw the trailer, but I was quickly drawn in. That said, it’s still not quite the sum of its parts, but kudos to Mr Ruffalo, because it does have quite a brilliant performance from him.
I’ll also add that it does have a bit of an odd title, since it just makes me think of the line from Spandau Ballet’s 1983 song, True, yet this drama is mostly set in 1990.
And as for what Thomas did in the library…
I Know This Much Is True is on Sky Atlantic each Monday at 9pm, but note that because it’s on HBO the night before in the US, it also airs a bit earlier on the Monday, at 2am, to match the HBO broadcast time, so you can watch it at the same time.
Episodes 1 Score: 7/10
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Producer: Judith Regan
Screenplay: Derek Cianfrance
Novel: Wally Lamb
Dominick and Thomas Birdsey: Mark Ruffalo
Ma: Melissa Leo
Nedra Frank: Juliette Lewis
Ray Birdsey: John Procaccino
Leo: Rob Huebel
Nedra Frank: Juliette Lewis
Dessa Constantine: Kathryn Hahn
Ralph Drinkwater: Michael Greyeyes
Young adult Dominick and Thomas Birdsey: Philip Ettinger
Lisa Sheffer: Rosie O’Donnell
Dr. Patel: Archie Panjabi
Joy Hanks: Imogen Poots
Papa Covington: Tom Stratford
8yo Dominick Birdsey: Donnie Masihi
8yo Thomas Birdsey: Rocco Masihi
Vincenzo Tempesta: Simone Coppo
Young Dessa: Aisling Franciosi
Young Leo: Matt Helm
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.