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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When I was going up the stairs, I met a man who wasn't there
Sick and tired of those ordinary thrillers that are all fluff and very little substance? 'Identity' may be the answer that you're looking for, as it is a clever and dark thriller with a solid story, a terrific cast and a great look and feel to it all. The film revolves around ten strangers who end up at a little motel due to a horrible storm. All of them have been brought...
Published on 6 Aug 2004 by Michael Crane

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good.
This is a pretty good movie, deserves more like 3 1/2 stars but isn't really good enough for me to give it 4. The reason is that I didn't find it as clever as it's meant to be. The 'twist' was pretty obvious to me from a very early stage, which did kind of spoil it, and because of that I won't give away any spoilers.
The unfortunate thing with this kind of movie is...
Published on 7 Mar 2004 by Russell Tit Davies


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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When I was going up the stairs, I met a man who wasn't there, 6 Aug 2004
Sick and tired of those ordinary thrillers that are all fluff and very little substance? 'Identity' may be the answer that you're looking for, as it is a clever and dark thriller with a solid story, a terrific cast and a great look and feel to it all. The film revolves around ten strangers who end up at a little motel due to a horrible storm. All of them have been brought there by chance... or, is it a little more complicated than that? They think they're out of the woods until people start getting butchered left and right, in a countdown fashion. What appears to be nothing more than a murderer on the loose having his or her fun ends up being something a lot more sinister and threatening. Have these ten individuals been picked at random, or have their fates been sealed from the very beginning?
When I started watching this, I thought to myself, 'Oh boy, I bet you I know exactly how this is going to end.' I was wrong. The film takes a lot of clever and unexpected twists that really goes to show you how great a thriller can really be if the right brains are behind it all. It has some great suspense and frightening moments, an intriguing plot that likes to play around with your mind, and it delivers a very confident presentation. You'll recognize a good majority of the cast, as some of them include John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet and Rebecca DeMornay. All are great, especially Cusack who proves that he can be a successful lead role in a top-notch thriller.
The DVD has some cool goodies to offer. You can watch it in widescreen or fullscreen, depending on which is your preference. You also have the choice to watch the theatrical cut, or the extended version (not to be mistaken for a 'director's cut'). I must be honest and admit that the extended version is really not worth it. The added scene does nothing to enhance the movie and the so-called 'alternate ending' isn't alternate at all, as it is merely extended by only a few seconds. It was interesting to watch, but again it really doesn't do anything special for the film. Stick with the theatrical version, then watch the extended version if you're still curious. Trust me, the theatrical version is the way to go. Other bonuses included on the DVD are deleted scenes, commentary, storyboard comparisons, theatrical trailer, filmographies and a behind the scenes featurette. The film looks and sounds great.
'Identity' is definitely something that should be checked out by those who are tired by the usual flops that dare to call themselves 'thrillers.' This is a successful and smart thriller that offers chills along with an impressive script and cast. Just be sure to give it a chance. You may think you have it all figured out when it starts, but trust me when I tell you that this movie will play around with your brain until the ending credits. A more than well-done thriller that doesn't disappoint and is worth re-watching again and again. -Michael Crane
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Old Horror/Psychological Thriller., 4 Nov 2003
This review is from: Identity [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
A rich atmospheric psychological thriller directed by James Mangold ("Heavy"/"Cop Land") and scripted by Michael Cooney. In the night time Nevada desert, a heavy rainstorm floods the roads and the phone lines are down. A group of ten stranded travellers converge on a seedy motel. The isolated motel looks as if it were lifted from the set of Psycho, and the weirdo manager Larry (Hawkes) looks as if he might have a few Norman Bates type of secrets. The storyline could have been pinched from Agatha Christie's play made into the film Ten Little Indians in 1945 and 1974, even though the film had scripted several changes to the plotline. Soon after the guests arrive they are being murdered one-by-one and at the victim's side is their motel key, making it look as if their deaths might not be random.
George (McGinley) and Alice York (Kenzle) and their odd young tongue-tied son Timothy (Loehr) stop at the motel seeking medical help after Alice is accidently run down on the highway by a limo. Timothy is George's step-son, as his real father split two years ago. Ed (Cusack) the limo driver was a former LA policeman who burned-out and quit because of medical reasons. Ed is transporting a self-absorbed and spoiled fading TV actress Caroline Suzanne (De Mornay) to Los Angeles, when he took his eyes off the road to get batteries for her cell phone and hit Alice. Ed takes the severely injured woman to the motel and when he can't phone or travel for help, he sews up her neck with a sewing kit. Paris (Peet) is a world-weary sexy Las Vegas hooker who skips town after she robs her john. She's heading for her hometown in Frostbite, Florida to buy an orange orchard farm with the stolen money, but her car gets stuck in the flooded road. Lou (Scott) and Ginny (DuVall) got married 9 hours ago and are already a troubled couple. The oversensitive Ginny feels guilty that she lied about being pregnant. The last guest is Rhodes (Ray Liotta), a not too swift corrections officer transporting a convict (Jake Busey). The convict gets free of his handcuffs and leg irons while left in the motel bathroom and is suspected of committing the gruesome murders.
The story intercuts on the same night to the Nevada state courtroom, where a last minute hearing to stay the execution for a serial killer (Pruitt Taylor Vince) convicted of several bloody murders is taking place. An unreceptive judge has been awakened for this appeal. The psycho's psychiatrist (Alfred Molina) and the client's lawyer plead that the state has no right to execute someone who is mentally incompetent.
Mangold says he was attracted to the film because it reminded him of some 1940s film noirs such as The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon. It intrigued him how the story played with time, memory, reality and nightmares. What I admired is that the script was tight, the direction played fairly more or less with the rules for the whodunit mystery genre, and that even if the film couldn't completely make sense it still made enough sense to be appreciated as a good old-fashioned mystery. Though gruesome in spots, this was more a film for those who like to be kept guessing who the killer is and also want a thought-provoking film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not a film to be overlooked!, 24 Jan 2004
This review is from: Identity [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
What made this film so great for me was that even up until the end, you weren't sure what type of a film you were watching. As the film progresses, the viewer isn't sure whether they're watching a slasher film, a whodunnit or a supernatural horror film.
A group of strangers, through a series of bizzarre coincidences, find themselves trapped in a motel in the pouring rain. Cut off from the outside world, the group begin to discover a few more inexplicable oddities, while one by one, they die in a pre-destined order, either by being murdered or by accident. Meanwhile, somewhere else in the same storm, a midnight court trial is trying to determine the innocence of a convict who will be electrocuted in 24 hours.
The plot is designed to keep you guessing, as each plot twist throws up another series of questions and seemingly inexplicable situations. What is the relevance of the court case? How come keys are found by each body as the death toll mounts? Who is innocent and who is guilty?
Here is a thriller that not only buckles the formula, but almost completely demolishes it. Each actor does a superb job of maintaining the suspense. I still feel that John Cusack is better suited (though maybe too old)to zany comedies in high schools, but his performance here is admirable. So too, among others is Ray Liotta's cop, and Ray Busey playing a prisoner who's very presence is menacing.
Some of the set-ups are incredibly creepy, and will jangle the nerves, just like the old urban legends stories that are told around campfires.
Finally, a comment on the ending. Due to the nature of the film, the ending may be fulfilling and gratifying for some, but a dissapointment to others. As with any movie, the audience is asked to suspend belief so that the tale can be told. Personally, I enjoyed the film and the ending, but anyone who goes to watch a film and isn't prepared to go with the plot will probably dismiss the film based on the ending.
To those who do, all I can say is that you're missing the point, and you're missing the fun.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good old Slasher with a twist, 19 Jan 2004
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Mr. P. Tanner "paultanner2" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Identity [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This is like many, many slasher movies before it. But don't get me wrong, this is still a very good tale. A group of people trapped in a remoted desert hotel, all with different personalities, the film follows them through a string of bizzarre and unexplainable murders. Fingers are pointed, accusations made and counter made. Still the deaths continue, you will be sat trying to work out the killer, then WHAM, just when you least expect it the twist in the tale. Then WHAM again, yet another twist.
The twists make this film different enough to be refreshing, the slasher aspect alone is good, but with the afore mentioned twists this film rises above the others.
The DVD version has the Cinema Version and the Extended version with lots of extras. All in all a tasty little bundle.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very watchable, 25 Jan 2004
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- alikat - (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Identity [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Most of the action is set in a motel isolated from everywhere by a storm. A bunch of strangers find themselves thrown together by circumstance; as they start being picked off one by one it seems they might have more in common than they think. This is a stylish nippy thriller, it's bristling with suspense, there's a strong cast, a good script, and a nice eerie feel to the filming. Think along the lines of Agatha Christie's "And then there were none", this'll keep you guessing until the end.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of James Mangold's Identity, 14 Jan 2004
This review is from: Identity [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Seemingly influenced in equal amounts by Fincher, Hitchcock and Agatha Christie, James Mangold has produced an interesting and intriguing piece.
Ten individuals with one thing in common find themselves stranded in a desert motel in the pouring rain. Cue the beginning of a string of gruesome murders, and the inevitability that all of the group will eventually become victims…
Filmed on a set bearing an immense resemblance to that of Psycho, the story is that of murder-mystery crossed with horror, culminating in an interesting, Fincher-esque twist. The basic premise of the movie is exciting to me, and it is shot with beautiful precision, in deep greys and reds, that combine with exceptional cinematography to give an awesome visual impression. The cast sets some established actors (Cusack and Liotta) with others (Amanda Peet and John Hawkes) with less experience, in an interesting ensemble.
Throughout the film, I was impressed with the shooting and general ambience created. The acting, whilst a tad patchy in places was convincing, and this aided the director in his attempts to inflict upon the audience suspense of Hitchcockian levels. The one let down in my opinion was the scripting. Michael Cooney has been responsible for some serious misjudgements of screen writing in the past. This is not one of them. Thematically, the movie is excellent, with, in my opinion (here differing to many critics) the last third delivering an admirable twist and interesting look at the psychology of criminals. But for me, the actual dialogue was less than impressive. Some of William Lee Scott’s lines were delivered in pure accordance to the Tarantino style guide, which provided me with a smile, but most of the rest of the film was let down by interminably formulaic and unbelievable dialogue.
Overall, it seems to me that Identity is a triumph of direction, and is an exciting step in Mangold’s career. Roger Ebert wrote in his review that the viewer could work out who committed the murders in the before this is revealed. I feel that this rather confused view of the film is one that many viewers will disagree with; and I essentially believe that this film is worth watching for all fans of a wide range of genres: the thriller, horror, and pure whodunits (especially anyone who has read Christie’s And Then There Were None). But this is by no stretch of the imagination a modern classic. The dialogue is lacking too much in intensity for it to be classed in the same bracket as Fincher’s first two films (Se7en and Fight Club) or indeed with any of Hitchcock’s genre defining efforts. But in terms of enjoyable cinema, and well-educated direction, this is definitely worth a watch.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And it was all a metaphor......, 14 Mar 2006
This review is from: Identity [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Identity is without doubt one of the best films I have ever seen. Im the sort of guy that likes films with depth and a compelling story. This is definitly what I got here. Plus interesting and mysterious characters that get caught up in a terrificly worked scenario. The film, which is basicaly about coincedence, and the idea that accidents can have a purpose, is thrilling from the very beggining and it continues until the fantastic conclusion. It is admittidly a little hard to follow and it may need 2 or 3 viewings for you to fully apreciate its brilliance and understand the plot, but this should not put you off. I won't give away too much of the story but the twist at the end is probably the best executed twist I have witnessed in a film, and this coupled with the great acting of John Cusack, and the amazing plot mean that you should definitly give this film a go.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good., 7 Mar 2004
This review is from: Identity [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This is a pretty good movie, deserves more like 3 1/2 stars but isn't really good enough for me to give it 4. The reason is that I didn't find it as clever as it's meant to be. The 'twist' was pretty obvious to me from a very early stage, which did kind of spoil it, and because of that I won't give away any spoilers.
The unfortunate thing with this kind of movie is that once you know what happens it's hardly worth watching again, so it's probably not one to buy.....so just rent it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film, 30 Mar 2009
By 
Since the other reviewer is in the habit of stating his/her subjective opinions as if they are facts, I think I'll do the same.

This film was, at the time I saw it two years ago, my favourite film of all time and still hangs in my top five. I think it's fantastic and highly recommend if you like films that make you think and develop in ways you don't expect. Highly recommend, and looks GREAT on Blu of course.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Red Herrings and Shower Curtains, 2 Dec 2004
By 
Amanda Richards "Hotpurplekoolaid" (ECD, Guyana) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Identity [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This is a slasher flick with a star studded cast. From the beginning it attempts to outsmart the viewer, in a whodunnit that would send Dame Agatha to her smelling salts bottle, and Sybil into multiple fits of laughter.
From Rebecca De Mornay (Caroline) doing an updated Psycho scene, shower curtain and all, to the borrowed thrills of Halloween and Friday the 13th, this dark movie keeps you guessing until each twist is revealed, but the BIG TWIST is a no-brainer even if you're not a fan of the genre.
John Cusack (Ed) takes some getting used to in this type of role, but he makes the stretch nicely. Amanda Peet (Paris) also displays her versatility, even though her character pushes the believability meter to the limit. John Hawkes (Larry) works his inner Anthony Perkins, but ends up more like Tommy Lee, except he doesn't care much for hookers.
Type-cast actors are Ray Liotta (Rhodes) and Jake Busey (Maine), who's probably patented that angry toothy snarl of his. Clea DuVall (Ginny) and William Lee Scott (Lou) play dysfunction to the hilt.
There are certain parts of the plot that are imaginative and clever, but these are overshadowed by an intentionally confusing story line. This is not your simple slasher, but an greatly embellished slasher, leading the average viewer like me to a "Huh?" conclusion, not from the untwisty twist but from the events leading up to it.
Amanda Richards
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Identity [DVD]
Identity [DVD] by James Mangold (DVD - 2009)
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