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Identity (2003)

aka Identity

"The secret lies within."

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 90 mins · English · R (USA)

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From Everybody:

Disappointing

As much as I love John Cusack, there is almost nothing more unforgivable than a cheesy, whodunnit thriller with a “twist” ending. 'Identity' watches like a quintessential thriller riding the wave of the cliched films of the 90s. It literally has every cliché of the genre: a twist ending, twist endings, and plot holes galore.

The problem I had with this movie wasn't the cast or the acting; in fact, the cast was chock fill of a-listers at the time: Ray Liotta, John Cusack, and Amanda Peet are among them, acting their asses off in spite of the script. Also, casting Jake Busey (or any of the Buseys, for that matter) was perfect for the role of a psychotic murder, even if he ended up with a baseball bat rammed down his throat.

As for the scare factor of 'Identity', the plot was horribly predictable, resting all of its scariness on cheap jump scares, segueing choppily into a poorly-timed scream or other cacophony of noise. While I understand that it's not a horror movie, it should at l...(more)

As much as I love John Cusack, there is almost nothing more unforgivable than a cheesy, whodunnit thriller with a “twist” ending. 'Identity' watches like a quintessential thriller riding the wave of the cliched films of the 90s. It literally has every cliché of the genre: a twist ending, twist endings, and plot holes galore.

The problem I had with this movie wasn't the cast or the acting; in fact, the cast was chock fill of a-listers at the time: Ray Liotta, John Cusack, and Amanda Peet are among them, acting their asses off in spite of the script. Also, casting Jake Busey (or any of the Buseys, for that matter) was perfect for the role of a psychotic murder, even if he ended up with a baseball bat rammed down his throat.

As for the scare factor of 'Identity', the plot was horribly predictable, resting all of its scariness on cheap jump scares, segueing choppily into a poorly-timed scream or other cacophony of noise. While I understand that it's not a horror movie, it should at least give off the impression that it was trying to present an overarching element of suspense. It would have done this in spite of the cheap scares, but it was the script that really brought it down. Not only was the oh-so-predictable ending abrupt and lacked depth, the pacing of the plot, specifically the big psycho reveal, was just not conducive to an easy-to-follow movie.

Spoiler alert: revealing the fact that everything is in one man's head should come at the very end of the narrative. Putting it in with half an hour left of the film just confused me. It completely obliterated any semblance of sympathy for the other characters, which was hard-won at even that point.

All in all, 'Identity' was hard to follow, cliched, and predictable. If you want a real thriller, I would suggest looking elsewhere, avoiding the name James Mangold in your search. Despite several excellent films like 'Girl, Interrupted and 'Walk the Line', Mangold should definitely leave it up to the pros. (less)

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Cast:

Small Ed
Small Rhodes
Small Paris
Small Larry
Small Dr. Malick
Small Ginny
Small George York
Small Lou
Small Robert Maine
Small Caroline Suzanne
Small Verteidiger
Small Staatsanwalt
Small Alice York
Small Staatsanwaltsmitarbeiter
No_movie_poster Timmy York
Small Richter Taylor
No_movie_poster Detective Varole
No_movie_poster Bailiff Jenkins
No_movie_poster Nackter Geschäftsmann
No_movie_poster Bailiff
No_movie_poster Gefrorene Leiche
Small Malcolm Rivers

Crew:

No_movie_poster Cathy Konrad Producer
No_movie_poster David Brenner Editor
No_movie_poster Dixie J. Capp Producer
Small James Mangold Director
No_movie_poster Michael Cooney Screenplay
No_movie_poster Stuart M. Besser Executive Producer

Taglines:

"The secret lies within."

Plot:

Malcolm Rivers awaits execution for several vicious murders that took place at an apartment building. His psychiatrist, Dr. Mallick, has discovered his journal that may explain why he committed the murders. With this late evidence brought forth, a new hearing takes place.


10 strangers find themselves stranded in the middle of a storm in a remote motel, run by Larry Washington. They are a limo driver, Ed Dakota; a 1980s movie star, Caroline Suzanne; a cop, Officer Rhodes, who is transporting a serial killer, Robert Maine; a prostitute, Paris Nevada; a pair of newlyweds, Lou and Ginny Isiana; and a family in crisis, Alice York, who has been hit by Ed's car, her husband George, and mute son Timmy. The group prepares to spend the night; however, they quickly find there is an unknown murderer present, killing off each of the guests. Caroline is the first to be killed. Ed, finding her severed head in a washing machine, thinks Maine killed her; when they check the convict, they discover he has escaped.


All the others become worried, and Ginny flees in terror to her room. Her husband Lou chases after her but is also murdered. Maine runs through the hills, only to be dumfounded when he finds himself back at the motel. He enters the diner, where Ed and Rhodes jump and beat him into unconsciousness, putting Larry on guard duty. However, Maine is later found dead. Paris discovers a dead body in Larry's freezer, which is revealed to be the real hotel manager. Larry attempts to escape in his truck, claiming he did not kill anybody; he accidentally runs over George, killing him.


Each body is accompanied by a numbered room key, whose order of appearance suggests a countdown. The survivors tie Larry up, and as he tells them his story the others start to believe he really did not kill anyone. Subsequently, Alice is discovered to have died from her injuries. Ginny and Timmy die when their car blows up, but their bodies are nowhere to be found. The remaining four discover that all the bodies have disappeared and that all 10 share the same birthday; Ed realizes each one's surname is the same as a US state. Paris discovers that Rhodes is actually a convict as well; he killed the corrections officer transporting him and Maine cross state and assumed the cop's identity. Rhodes attempts to kill Paris, but she is saved by Larry, who hits Rhodes with a fire extinguisher, only to be shot and killed by him.


Back at the hearing, the contents of Malcolm's journal are revealed, indicating the prisoner suffers from an extreme case of dissociative identity disorder, harboring 10 distinct personalities. Mallick is able to bring forth one of Malcolm's personalities, Ed, revealing that the events at the motel are occurring inside Malcolm's mind; each personality is represented by one person at the motel. Mallick explains to "Ed" that the events at the motel are a result of treatment Malcolm is receiving - i.e., the killings at the motel are Malcolm's mental attempts to eliminate nine excess personalities. Mallick further gives "Ed" the mission of making sure that the hostile personality (i.e., the one responsible for Malcolm's committing the crimes for which he is being tried) is eliminated to prevent Malcolm from being executed.


In the motel setting, Ed believes Rhodes is the murderer, and the two shoot each other to death, leaving only Paris alive. When Mallick demonstrates that the homicidal personality is dead, the Judge decides to place Malcolm in a mental institution under Mallick's care.


As Malcolm is driven in a van, along with Mallick to the institution, in Malcolm's mind, Paris has driven away from the motel to her hometown in Frostproof, Florida. As she tends an orange grove, she discovers the room 1 motel key, and finds Timmy behind her. Timmy, the true homicidal personality, had orchestrated all the deaths at the motel, and made it appear that he had been killed as well; he finishes his task by killing Paris. Now driven only by Timmy, Malcolm strangles Mallick, and the van runs off the side of the road.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2003-04-25 : United States of America