Identity (2003)

Identity (2003) — After watching Knight and Day I got the urge to revisit one of James Mangold’s older [better] movies (if I have time this weekend I might watch 3:10 to Yuma as well).  He’s worked well in wildly disparate genres and this is his take on the horror flick.  But it’s not really a horror flicks.  Yeah there’s some gore, a couple jumps, and a plot wherein a group of people are systematically picked opff one-by-one, but it works as more of a thriller than horror.  What the movie does best is atmosphere.  The rain in this film is so unrelenting it is practically another character (and I suppose in a way it is).  Eventually the plot develops in a way that is not really original at all but the film sells it.  I’m sure some people yelled “oh come on!” but I felt that the film set it up enough so it was earned as opposed to the last-ditch effort a screenwriter that has run out of ideas.  Anyway it allows for a rather unsettling ending.  The cast includes John Cusack as a limo driver, Ray Liotta as a cop, Amanda Peet as a prostitute, John Hawkes as a hotel owner, Clea DuVall and William Lee Scott as a pair of newlyweds, Jake Busey as an imprisoned murderer, Rebecca DeMornay as a prima donna actress, and John C. McGinley as a man on the road with his wife and stepson.  They all get stranded at a motel in the desert in the pouring rain.  Bad things ensue.  There’s is also another storyline involving a doctor (Alfred Molina) and his death row patient (Pruitt Taylor Vince).  The two intersect in a way that in retrospect isn’t really surprising but caught me off guard when I first saw this movie seven years ago.  Anyway, Identity is a solid, if minor, entry in the mind-fuck thriller category and I found it very entertaining.

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