johnlink ranks IDENTITY (2003)

I’m usually good with release dates, but I remembered this as having come out in the late 90s, not 2003. I did like it the first time I saw it, I vividly remember thinking it was a good twist flick. But I tried watching it a second time several years ago, and abandoned it ten minutes in. I found it to be fairly pointless to watch it a second time once you knew the ending. I had enough wine in me last night to give it another go. Even if I knew the conclusion, I thought perhaps the journey would be worth taking again. There may be some slight SPOILERS below. If you haven’t seen it, the less you know the better. This is a movie worth seeing once, for sure…

I watched IDENTITY (2003) on 2.11.11. It was my second viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE (though I don’t suggest watching it unless you are a compulsive trailer viewer).

A scattered group of somewhat stereotypical characters pull in to a motel, where they will be stuck for the night. We get the cop with a secret (Ray Liotta), the former-cop protagonist with a different secret (John Cusack), the washed up actress (Rebecca De Mornay), the hooker with a heart of gold (Amanda Peet), the creepy child, the young married couple, the old married couple, the creepy landlord, and the convict. They are stereotypical for reasons which become clear as the film goes on, and the acting within these roles is actually not terrible. There are certainly cheats, and this thing has its share of weak moments. But this movie could have been VERY bad with lesser acting.

So these characters start dying one at a time, TEN LITTLE INDIANS style (in fact, that story is mentioned in the film). Meanwhile, back in the rest of the world, a killer is getting a last second hearing to stay his execution. What is the connection? Well that’s what this movie is about. Once you learn it, there is a definite feeling of this never having been done before. But when you re-watch it, the impact of the individuals’ stories is lessened greatly.

The script does some nice things. IDENTITY is not a dumb film, or a cheap film. But I think these genres, both the slasher flick and the twist-ending flick, have had better entries.

I was laughing a bit too much at people leaving the safety of the indoors to go outside for no good reason. There are three separate moments where they try to keep everyone together, only they can’t. If the slasher portion of this film were perfect, this would be a classic despite the way the ending turns. But it can’t claim that. We have far too many flaws. There are some pretty big ‘Oh crap’ moments the first time around. But the difference between this film and many others, is that this film’s ‘Oh crap’ moments aren’t heightened by knowing WHY, they are ultimately lessened.

Again, certainly a film worth seeing once, maaaaybe twice to see how it works together. But I don’t see where I’d need to watch it again.





~ by johnlink00 on February 12, 2011.

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