90 Min. | Mystery – Thriller | June 2003
IMDB Rating: 7.3
Director: James Mangold
Staring: John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet
Identity Review: About half of all films today are of the type that directly tinker with the narrative in some way. Usually the game is intended to play with the role of the viewer, tricking him into being a cocreator of the story. Sometimes it is simpler, where the writer takes the viewer aside to have a conversation about the story while the story is underway. That latter is what we are meant to think is going on at the start of this project. There’s a ‘Scream’ – like stance, flavored with the time-hopping multiple threads from similarly-motivated Tarantino-inspired efforts. But then we shift into more of a challenge, this is a mystery, it seems. ‘Ten Little Indians’ is cited (though the original title would have had more edge) by one of the characters as we shift into a struggle with the writer over who creates the future. It is as if our relationship with the writer changed from comfortable confidant to adversary, a clever, clever writing trick. Identity is a very thrilling.
But no, we do not stop there. We now have two dynamic situations, the action on screen and the newly insecure relationship with the writer. Another shift! This time we move into what I think is a genre that has only appeared only in the last couple years. That’s where we see multiple actors, but they are all playing the same character. Happened first in ‘Thing You Can Tell By Just Looking At Her,’ there cloaked in a magical realism. Most recently it happened in ’13 Conversations about One Thing.’ In both cases the unified character was a woman. Here it is a man, but the backbone of Identity is Clea DuVall, though the apparent narrator is Cusack. Cusack already has made a specialty of these sorts of self-referential folding where he is the narrator but not really. DuVall was the central character in ’13 Conversations,’ and she plays precisely the same persona and narrative anchor here.
Identity is a very thrilling and spooky film! The all star cast performed very well especially Ray Liotta, John C. McGinley, Amanda Peet, Jake Busey, Pruitt Taylor Vince, and John Cusak! The music by Alan Silvestri was good. The film is a little hard to understand so it not predictable! If you want to watch a horror, a mystery, a action, and a murder film then see Identity today because it has all of that in it! All this is important if you want to understand the trick at the end. Which character is the murderer? Nope, not the kid, Ginny. Overall, Identity is an excellent movie.