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Identity Movie Review (8/10)

Posted on April 30th, 2003 filed in Movie Reviews    |   

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10 strangers are stranded by a severe rainstorm in a motel in the middle of nowhere in Nevada. Things start getting freaky with them getting murdered one by one. And then they find out that they all share the same birthday.


For fans of smart thrillers, this is a breath of fresh air amid the drought of interesting movies in this genre usually flooded by cheap bloody productions. ‘Identity’ is solid and chuck full of tension and supsense with enough twists to keep you outguessed till the very end. Both the screenwriter and director have done an excellent job and the result is what you would expect of Hitchcock directing an Agatha Christie top novel.

There is in fact a clear hommage to Christie in the movie through a tale by Ginny, one of the stranded characters, that mixes two of Christie’s Books. Ten strangers are stranded on an island and are killed one at a time (“Ten Little Indians” aka “And Then There Were None”). Then they find out that they are all connected (“Murder on the Orient Express”).

The middle-of-nowhere motel conveys a Psycho like atmosphere and the seriously pouring rain manages to heighten the tension mostly by its ruling out good visibility. The various characters give credible performances of progressively freaking out while realizing that they no more have control over their own fate and destiny. All are dishonest with themselves as well as everyone around them and no one is really who he or she claims to be.

Cusack is at his best in a serious departure from his earlier ‘romantic comedy’ roles (Serendepity, America’s Sweethearts, Say Anything). I may even dare to say that he is more effective and memorable here than in any of his prior movies.

There are, in addition, great performances from Ray Liotta, John C. McGinley, and John Hawkes.

‘Identity’ is one of the best movies of 2003 and one of the top of its genre. Very enjoyable edge-of-the-seat production and a highly recommended viewing for all no-gore-overload horror fans. There is one requirement however to thoroughly enjoy this movie: You should give it your full attention and concentration. It is surely worth it.

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