Review of Identity (2003)

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by Christine Iannicelli

Starring John Cusack, Ray Liotta, and Amanda Peet, Identity starts off like any horror film.  A hodgepodge of individuals (including a limo driver, an actress, a prostitute, and a cop) are stranded at a seedy motel during a thunderstorm.  One by one, they start dying.  As the remaining victims scramble to ascertain who the murderer is and stop him/her from killing anyone else, we are presented with numerous questions.

First, is one of the stranded travelers the murderer?  None of the characters seem all that trustworthy, except maybe a caring father who is too busy tending to his injured wife (who was struck by the limo driver’s car) and her son to worry about a killer on the loose.  But as the movie progresses, we realize that any of these people could be the murderer.  After all, how much do we really know about them?

Another possibility is that maybe none of these individuals are involved and instead, a deranged serial killer is on the loose.  Most of the film takes place at this motel, but every once in a while, the film switches gears and shows us an insane mental patient being interrogated by a judge, a psychiatrist, and a few attorneys.  Is he the murderer?  How is the man related to this massacre?

For that matter, why are these specific individuals being targeted?  Is it just a random coincidence that they are all stuck at this motel, or are they all connected somehow?

These questions and more are what make Identity so fascinating. As the movie progressed, I found myself growing more and more interested in solving the mystery.  By the end, we the audience receive not one, but TWO incredible twist endings that explain everything.  I was blown away by the ending and immediately wanted to watch the movie again from this new enlightened perspective.

Like an Agatha Christie novel, the mystery is what drives this movie just as much as the suspense.  It’s not scary as much as it is psychologically mind-bending, designed to play with your notion of reality.  It is one of my favorite films!  I highly encourage you to check it out.

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