IDENTITY (2003) 

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John Cusack
Ray Liotta
Amanda Peet
Clea DuVall
John C. McGinley
Alfred Molina
Jake Busey
Pruitt Taylor Vince
William Lee Scott
John Hawkes
Leila Kenzie
Bret Loehr

James Mangold



Time: 90 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Horror/Mystery/Thriller

SYNOPSIS: Ten strangers with secrets are brought together in a savage rainstorm: A limo driver, an '80s TV star, a cop who is transporting a killer, a call girl, a pair of newlyweds and a family in crisis, all seek safety at a desolate motel run by a nervous night manager. Relief in finding shelter is quickly replaced with fear as the ten travelers begin to die, one by one. They soon realize that, if they are to survive, they'll have to uncover the secret behind their sudden alliance.

BOTTOM LINE: There's nothing like a well-crafted mystery to help while away an afternoon and this film certainly tries it's best to entertain and thrill. It is perfectly cast, intelligently written and extremely moody, which really helps sell this version of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians. Even though you know almost everyone is going to die, what makes this experience fun is trying to figure out why the killer is taking revenge on these poor stranded people who seem to have nothing in common. If you listen carefully in the beginning, the mystery isn't very hard to figure out; however, knowing the secret doesn't ruin the experience too much since the story is so cleverly pieced together.

Though I knew what was going on pretty early, there were still plenty of surprises sprung on me along the way, mostly in the way death was visited upon the various characters. Cusack and Liotta anchor a crack ensemble that tries its' best to make each character memorable, some succeeding better than others. Busey, I could have lived without. The incessant downpour of rain adds drama to the location and an element of anxiety to the proceedings that is simple but very effective. Unfortunately, though the film is certainly more well-crafted than most other recent forays in this genre, it just doesn't have the originality or depth of character to take it to the next level. It's not a classic, but if you like the leads and are looking for a good thrill IDENTITY won't disappoint.

"That's not possible. I was standing right there. I saw what happened. We all saw what happened."

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