Written by Michael Cooney
Running Time: 1:30
William Lee Scott
Rebecca De Mornay
John C. McGinley
Pruitt Taylor Vince
Identity was a well acted, well-written thriller that has a twist you'll never see coming.
A bunch of strangers end up in a deserted motel one cold, rainy night. A random coincidence, or a well thought out plan? There's the limo driver who is a former L.A. cop (John Cusack). There's the stuck-up actress (Rebecca De Mornay) he's driving. There's the hot hooker (because as we know, all hookers in movies have to be hot) who seems to have a lot of money (Amanda Peet). There's the newly married couple (Clea DuVall and William Lee Scott) that just got married in Vegas because she was pregnant. Or so she said. There's the other newly married couple with a small child (John C. McGinley, Leila Kenzle and Bret Loehr). There's the cop with a rather large secret (Ray Liotta) and the prisoner he's transferring (Jake Busey). And finally, there's the motel manager (John Hawkes) who, like everyone else, has got his own little secret. Someone is killing all the people at the motel, one by one. And what does it have to do with the appeal of a man 24 hours away from being executed for murder (Pruitt Taylor Vince)?
It's very hard to write a review for this film without giving away the twist, but I'll do my best. The trailers for the film didn't leave me feeling like I needed to see this film, but I decided to give it a shot, and I'm glad I did. It was a very well written film and much like other films that used the same technique, like The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects, the twist made it all worthwhile because you suddenly had to think back about everything you had witnessed. The acting was top notch, which is expected from a talented cast. I'm here to say that I firmly believe (not necessarily based on this performance but just in general), that John Cusack will be up for an Oscar in the next five years. You heard it here first. Each character had their own hidden secret that slowly came out as the movie progressed. I wish they had spent a little more time in the beginning giving us some more background on each character so we could feel more empathy when they got knocked off, but the movie did travel along at a quick pace so I can't really complain too much.
The mood of the film was really the highlight. It all takes place on one long, rainy night so the feel of the film was constantly dark and brooding. It wasn't a horror film by any stretch of the imagination, but more of a murder-mystery film. You're constantly wondering who the killer is and why they've decided to kill these people. I'll say this, I figured out who the killer was fairly early in the film, but for the life of me never figured out why until the ending was revealed, then it all fell into place. And the filmmakers were kind enough (although it may have been unnecessary to do so) to show in quick flashback how everything happened.
Then there's the murderer with the late-night appeal of his death sentence. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how this played in to everything, but they kept cutting back to his psychiatrist and his appeal. I knew it had to be something important, otherwise they wouldn't have kept interrupting the main storyline just to play out a non-connected second story, but it didn't make any sense. And then the twist happened and you could feel half the audience go 'ah ha!' while the other half went 'huh?' but after a while I think everyone got the idea and that's when the movie suddenly got really interesting.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Overall, I would recommend seeing Identity. If you're looking for a film that'll give you some scares, this one works. If you're the kind of person that likes being surprised, this one works. And if you're the kind of person who loves a good mystery, this one works. It has something for everyone. Unless you're looking for comedy, then you're out of luck. But if you're in the mood for a good, creepy mystery, give Identity a shot.
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© 2003 Wolfpack Productions