Identity (2003)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller, Whodunit  |   Release Date - Apr 25, 2003 (USA)  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Matthew Tobey

There's a moment after one of the bigger of Identity's many twists, in which it seems as if the writers have dropped the ball, throwing in a cheap cop-out in lieu of an actual payoff. Luckily, a moment later, one begins to think that the development was more clever than cheap, and simply completely unexpected rather than a cop-out. By the end, after all is said and done, Identity proves itself to be one of the most original and fun thrillers in years. Writers James Mangold and Michael Cooney have crafted a script that is a smart blend of the old-fashioned whodunit and the modern B-slasher film. The execution of the resulting premise of a group of people mysteriously landing at the same motel, finding themselves killed off one-by-one is enough to make the film a winner. But as the story unfolds, it reveals itself to hold even more than meets the eye. As a director, Mangold lends the film an unsettling atmosphere that is half familiarity and half enigma. In addition, the ensemble cast is top-notch, pulling off characters that could have easily come across overly exaggerated and campy if handled incorrectly. Of course not everyone will stick it out past the aforementioned big twist, as some viewers will surely choose to pick apart some of the finer, peripheral details rather than suspend their disbelief a little. But for those who allow themselves to enjoy it for what it is, a refreshingly imaginative film that giddily toys with genres and audience expectations, Identity is sure to please.