Suspenseful and engaging, Identity is one of those thrillers you’re going to remember. Unfolding over the course of one night, it grabs your attention right away and doesn’t let go for ninety fucking minutes! The pacing is just relentless and the atmosphere is full of mystery. And did I mention that the whole story is taking place in one of those iconic cheap hotels? I’m sure I did. The whole setup is very reminiscent of Agatha Christie, especially her novel And Then There Were None. However, I should point out that this movie is not based on a novel.
Identity is a perfect example of a well-crafted who-done it movie. The story never taunts the viewer leaving ample space for you to guess what’s going on. Twisting and turning, it avoids all the usual pitfalls. And the characters are fully developed and very diverse, adding even more vibrancy to the movie. So, when someone dies, you will actually feel something. Also, I should mention that the murders are quite gruesome for this type of movie. Take away some of the mystery and you got yourself quite an effective slasher.
A vicious serial killer Malcolm Rivers is finally going to get what he deserves. His sentence is the harshest one there is, a death sentence. Just one day before the execution, his lawyer enters new evidence in an effort to save his client. He’s on his way to the courtroom when a storm forces him and his police escort into a remote hotel. Everything seems quite normal at first but then dead bodies start showing up. And guests of the hotel start looking for answers.
That covers the story but what about the visuals? Well, the cinematography is juicier than pulpy orange juice you mistakenly drank after waking with a killer hangover. I just loved the saturated colors and this overall dark vibe of the visual style. Additionally, there’s this storm that’s going on with rain constantly pouring down, even more electrifying the atmosphere. All this is accompanied by Alan Silvestri’s perfect score. I just want to go back to that visual style for a second with a stroll down the early aughts memory lane. I’m sure you remember movies like Gothika, Skeleton Key, Ghost Ship, or Final Destination featuring almost the same visuals. I believe that the Scream franchise first used this style and the moment I saw it, I fell in love with it.
The cast of Identity was simply awesome. Everyone did a great job but I want to single out John Hawkes as Larry. This was the first movie I saw him in and boy did he leave an impression or what. The same goes for Pruitt Taylor Vince. And I can’t leave without mentioning my crush Amanda Peet. Check her out in Saving Silverman, she was excellent there. Finally, Identity seems like a movie you should watch only once and forget about it. Mostly because of the story and all the twists. However, I have to tell you I’ve seen it a couple of times and each time was a pleasure. So, if you’re hankering for some suspense and mystery check it out. If you’re looking for something similar take a look at Surveillance or Vacancy. And our Rabbit Reviews selection of Who Done It Movies.
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Michael Cooney
Cast: John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, Alfred Molina, John C. McGinley, Carmen Argenziano
Fun Facts: Several endings were filmed in order to shroud the real conclusion in secrecy.