Top positive review
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A Fight For Identity
on 12 January 2003
This is a really good film that is more than just a thriller, but a statement about identity as well. Barbet Schroder (Murder by Numbers) scales the lonely apartment building with his camera and shows the gargoyle statues perched on the ledge. There are many shots like this and a theme of a very small person in a very large and modern world that is close to swallowing up our individuality is explored in this disturbing thriller.
Bridget Fonda gives a sweet performance as the emotionally vulnerable Allie Jones. She exposes her heart in an intimate moment with her boyfriend Sam (Steven Weber) when she tells him, "Your the best thing that's ever happened to me". When she is forced to advertise for a SWF roomate another sweet personality comes into play as shy Hedra Carlson (Jennifer Jason Leigh) wins over Allie and moves in.
What develops is a slow evolving nightmare as Hedra subtly transforms herself bit by bit into Allie. Barely noticable at first it becomes more and more pronounced until Allie must fight for not only her identity but her life as well. Leigh is great as always and we feel sorry for her at first just as Allie does. She seems to have no life at all. Even when Allie thinks Hedra might be fooling around with someone in the apartment what she sees is quite different.
Hedra taps into all Allie's insecurities until she is in danger of dissappearing. A scene in the dark where Allie's boyfriend Sam is sexually fooled by Hedra before he realizes it is not Allie is particularly disturbing. Schroder seems to be pondering if one person has become interchangable with another in today's world.
The ending is violent and bloody but it has no other place to go. Hedra can't live as Allie if Allie still exists and Allie must overcome her fear in order to live. Both Fonda and Leigh work well together and each gives a fine performance in this lonely feeling movie that makes us think about our own identity.
This is a good film to watch late at night with the lights off. It has a lonely and eventually disturbing feel to it and will have you wondering the next day how easy it would be...