a critiQal film review Identity (2003)

Plot: During the night of a big storm, 10 strangers are stranded at a motel. They are all settling in for the night when one of them is brutally murdered. When they investigate they find a room key on the body - #10. As people keep dying, and their bodies disappearing, they must discover who the killer is among them before it's too late.

548 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 44s)
  • ...stands right up there with The Game as one of the better suspense thrillers in years.

The trailer for Identity, which I’d seen a little while ago, was confusing. It looked intriguing, but I wasn’t sure what kind of film it was going to be. Would it be a serious thriller, a great mystery, just another slasher flick, or would it be a lousy combination of them all?

Because of this unsurety, I figured I’d wait until it hit DVD to check it out. So, with that in mind when I rented it, I popped it into the DVD player and sat down to check it out.

The actors all did a great job, which is a must for a film in this category (which excludes slasher flicks, right?). John Cusack, who’s been consistently decent since his old Say Anything days, turns in quite a performance in this film.

It’s not really the role, although he really sunk his teeth into it, but the lack of more famous actors around him. He’s always playing against an actor who becomes the main attraction of the film, such as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’s Kevin Spacey and Minnie Driver from Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) (who was riding high off of Good Will Hunting at the time).

This time around, the only other truly famous actor was Ray Liotta, who always seems to play a supporting role himself. Because of this difference, John Cusack’s performance became more of a focus, and he really showed what he could do.

Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, and John C. McGinley, not to mention a surprisingly subdued performance by Rebecca DeMornay (The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)), the other known names of the film, do a great job supporting him, and really let John get his chance to shine.

The plot was superb. Identity took an interesting idea, and kept the suspense level high throughout the film, then threw in a shocking twist near the end. The finale actually comes as a bit of a letdown, since they drag the ending on a bit too much to finally let us in on who the killer is, but all in all, it’s truly original, and you definitely ain’t seen anything like it.

Identity is one suspense thriller where every single detail seems to have been gone over and over again to make sure that it came out just right.

Even the special features showcase this, most notably the deleted scenes. Usually when you watch a deleted scene, you aren’t sure what’s deleted and what was in the movie, without having to go back and watch the scene over again. Here, the parts that are in the film are shown in black and white, with the film switching to color when the deleted part is shown. This is a nice innovation, and every film should do this in their deleted scenes.

All in all, Identity is one of the best suspense thrillers I’ve seen in years. With great character acting (and a chance for John Cusack to really shine), an amazing plot, and the masterful way the story is told, the end almost becomes a letdown – just because the movie was that good.

This is a must-own for me, as I’m sure it will be for you – after you discover Identity.

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Leave a Reply

Around the Web