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A movie directed by James Mangold

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Identity - 2003

  • Jun 12, 2008
Pros: cast

Cons: the obivous

The Bottom Line: "I have wrestled with this nightmare,
Now I live inside a dream
I'm going through a crisis,
Losing my identity"
~ Blaze

It is a bit difficult to discuss this movie without giving away anything. I will admit I had a bit of fun with this one, figuring out who the bad guy/gal was from the onset. I know, from past experience, when they shove the obvious answer down your throat, it is just a ploy. Why they continue to do this, who knows, cause we have all caught on to their game. Despite that, I enjoyed the twists and turns along the road to the true Identity.

The main stars, although there are about 12 main characters, are John Cusack as a retired police officer; Ray Liotta as a prisoner transport guard; Amanda Peet as the starry-eyed gal from Vegas on her way home to Florida; and Rebecca DeMornay as the snippy movie star.

Now anyone worth their salt in moviedom knows Ray Liotta is always some wired up, fried, weird son-of-a-gun in a movie. It doesn’t matter how many times he bats those eyes or smiles that smile, he just gives me the creeps because I know there is always madness lurking behind that fa├žade.

In Identity we have a group of people that slowly make their way to a Norman Bates like motel in the middle of BFE. On the flip side, we have an interrogation room in some police station somewhere, that houses a group of people waiting for a prisoner to show up for a disposition. Now this prisoner is one whacked out crazy mo-fo, scheduled to die by lethal injection within the week.

Meanwhile, along a rainy highway …
Witchy star, DeMornay, is speeding away from her movie shoot. It appears something wasn’t to her prissy liking, and she is bailing out. While she gives her driver, John Cusack, 90 kinds of hell, he speeds along the road, barely paying attention to his driving …

Then we have the perfect suburban family, destination unknown, patiently making their way down the same road. A flat tire, and, oops, Mr. and Mrs. Milquetoast are stranded along the side of the road while Mr. Milquetoast attempts to change the tire. The wifey stands patiently by his side, umbrella over his balding head, looking lovingly at her small son in the car. As she reaches out to touch his face through the glass, boink, along comes the movie star and her driver, barreling along…

They all hurry back to the motel, Mrs. Milquetoast’s body battered and beaten, only to find the storm has taken down the phone lines.

On another road we find Amanda Peet, with her stolen spoils in her car, speeding along through the rain. It isn’t long until she comes to a washed out road and is forced to turn around and come to the motel as well. Close behind her is a couple, starting their honeymoon in a less than glorious way.

As everyone desperately tries to get their cell phones to work, or find a way around the washed out roads, a long, black car pulls in, exiting Ray Liotta and the convict he is transporting to give a disposition.

When people start dropping like ten little Indians, the others begin to look at each other in fear. We also keep cutting back to the police station and the group waiting for the deranged convict to show up for his disposition.

This movie carries an R rating for strong violence and language. I will admit it has the overtones of violence, but we are viewing the aftermath, not the actual deed. Yes, blood is spattered about, not to mention an rather ingenious baseball bat, but we don’t watch the crime take place. Even the vehicular accidents are seen but also implied. Just like the balance of the movie, it is all just one big mind game. Naturally the language is rough, Liotta can’t say five sentences without using the ‘F’ word at least once and DeMornay isn’t any nun either.

This could have probably been a better movie, but why. They were going strictly for entertainment here, not looking for a sweep at the Oscars. If they were, then the mind game was on them, although it was nominated for 5 different awards by various award givers.

I was entertained. I wasn’t entirely hoodwinked because I didn’t fall for all their ‘implied’ thought processes. I was mildly surprised at the ending and somewhat disappointed. I do understand they filmed several endings, not revealing which would be used, for impact. I would have liked to see some of the alternative endings. Unfortunately, I can’t explain what I am talking about because, well, that would reveal too much information about the movie.

It’s a fun movie with a few twists. Nothing outstanding. It was directed by James Mangold, written by Michael Cooney.



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More Identity (2003 movie) reviews
review by . February 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****    A dark and stormy night. Many cars stranded in muck. A fatal collision between human flesh and hard metal. All three of these things contribute to the gathering of ten strangers in a single location - a Motel somewhere in Nevada -, an element which is the drive for the rest of the plot to come in James Mangold's "Identity". The story was inspired by an Agatha Christie mystery story - "And Then There Were None" - and indeed there is a mystery at the core. These …
review by . September 23, 2009
I have mentioned before that I love books and movies that keep me guessing.  Nothing is more of a put off to me than figuring out exactly what is going on within the first few chapters of a book or the first few minutes of a move.  That's why I love this movie so much.  Like JACOB'S LADDER, this one had me confused until nearly the very end.  An Indian curse?  Ghosts?  A homocidal maniac?  When the real answer came (and I won't give it away in case …
review by . November 03, 2008
The movie begins with a subplot of a killer's interview. Next, on a dark and stormy night, many lives will come together. George York (John C. McGinley - Dr. Cox from Scrubs) along with his wife Alice and stepson Timothy have a blowout. Alice is hit by limo driver Ed (John Cusack) driving movie star Caroline (Rebecca De Mornay). They rush to the closest phone, which is at an out-of-the-way hotel. Joining them for the evening, also trapped by the storm and flooding, is hooker Paris (how appropriate) …
review by . December 17, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
From first glance, IDENTITY really doesn't seem that great. However, as one begins watching the film, you are swept up into the movie's engaging plot. As a thriller, it's great and as a thriller with a twist it's one of the most original to come around in a long time. IDENTITY revolves around 10 people who all become stranded at the same creepy motel on a dark and story night. Somehow contected to all of this is the hearing concerning a bald-headed mass murderer. This hearing doesn't come into play …
review by . October 10, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: good cast, entertaining, John Hawkes is fantastic, interesting premise     Cons: could have been done a little better, distracting cinematography, some continuity flaws     The Bottom Line: A great idea, yet a mediocre film. Good cast, interesting script, but they got too cocky. See if you can figure it out yourself.     That's right, yet another film fest at my house. This time, Mechelle and I rented Identity, starring John Cusak, …
review by . October 10, 2003
Pros: good cast, entertaining, John Hawkes is fantastic, interesting premise     Cons: could have been done a little better, distracting cinematography, some continuity flaws     The Bottom Line: A great idea, yet a mediocre film. Good cast, interesting script, but they got too cocky. See if you can figure it out yourself.     That's right, yet another film fest at my house. This time, Mechelle and I rented Identity, starring John Cusak, …
review by . September 18, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
This movie, starring John Cussack, takes place mostly within the mind of a character who is an accused killer. This is not evident in the film until there is a switch in scene to the criminal defendant and his legal and psychiatric team. This makes the film intriguing, and sets the stage for the search for the true killer within the personality "alters" of the main drama. This leads to a surprise ending, which may not be too surprising to those familiar with real life multiple personality and dissociative …
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About this movie


Starring John Cusack, Ray Liotta, John C. McGinley, Rebecca De Mornay
Directed by James Mangold
Writer: Michael Cooney

With an ace up its sleeve,Identitydoes for schizophrenia whatThe Silence of the Lambsdid for fava beans and a nice chianti. On the proverbial dark and stormy night, this anxiety-laced thriller offers a tasty blend ofAnd Then There Were NoneandPsycho, with a dash ofSybilfor extra spice and psychosis. Things go from bad to worse when 10 unrelated travelers converge at an isolated motel and proceed to die, one by one, with no apparent connection... until they discover the common detail that's drawn them into this nightmare of relentless trauma. Even as it flunks Abnormal Psychology 101, Michael Cooney's screenplay offers meaty material for a superior ensemble cast including John Cusack and Rebecca DeMornay (who wins the Janet Leigh prize in a bitchy comeback role). Director James Mangold pivots the action around one character (played by hisHeavystar, Pruitt Taylor Vince, in eye-twitching cuckoo mode), and half the fun ofIdentitycomes from deciphering who's who, what's what, and who'll be the next to die.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: James Mangold
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: April 25, 2003
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: James Mangold, Michael Cooney
DVD Release Date: September 2, 2003
Runtime: 1hr 30min
Studio: Columbia Pictures, Columbia Tristar, Sony Pictures
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