April 09, 2004


Slasher noir.

When I saw this the first time, that's the description I came up with on the way out of the theater. The writers and producers did a nice job of combining a good old-fashioned slasher movie with arthouse film noir. Identity is a film that makes you think, and wonder what the hell is waiting for you at the end of the plot, and at the same time makes you cringe in fear and cover your eyes in revulsion.

Johnny Cusack is at the center of Identity with an able supporting cast that includes a sexy Amanda Peet. And a kid. Cusack is okay -- I can take him or leave him. He could do more to help build the tension in this psycho-yarn.

Until the very last scene, it is night and it is raining really hard. The rain comes straight down unceasingly. All of the characters are alternately soaked or drying out. They all get stuck in a rickety roadside motel due to the road getting washed out in both directions. Death starts taking them one by one and the bodies are found with room keys that do not match the rooms that they checked in to. The numbers on the keys are in descending order.

The rain came down like that on the day of my Dad's funeral. I'm sorry but that's what I'll always think when I see that kind of rain.

You realize about halfway in that things are not as they seem, and you are going to get mentally screwed by this story. But, you are very very keen to find out just exactly how you are going to get screwed, so you watch on the edge of your seat -- just to see how you've been had. This movie is a very effective use of two parallel story lines coming together at the end.

Describing Identity is difficult without giving too much away. Just check it out if you get the chance. It should show on HBO several more times. Research shows that the director, James Mangold, also did Girl, Interrupted, a movie I really liked.

Posted by Wayne at April 9, 2004 01:58 AM

If you haven't seen the movie, this is a comment about the end of the movie, which would probably spoil it for those who haven't seen it.
What was with the kid? What was with that line at the end??? I didn't like the movie the first time I saw it, but I warmed up to it the second time. I like the concept very much, that your whole identity could be a part of a crazy guy's head. I didn't care at all for the slasher elements, nor the stupid twist that wasn't really needed (about the real murderer). The acting was quite good, and I liked the tricks the filmmakers played to make the audience feel like they were as much out of the loop as the people in the movie. Again, it should not have been a horror film, just like Secret Window, it took good premise and turned it into something that is supposed to scare 17 year-old girls.

Posted by: Micah at May 28, 2004 01:18 AM
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