Identity (2003)

identity poster 2003 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting : 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Moderately entertaining


Movie Info

Movie Name:  Identity

Studio:  Konrad Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  April 25, 2003

MPAA Rating:  R

identity john hawkes ray liotta john cusack

Your Yelp rating is plummeting!!!

During an intense rainstorm, the fates bring strangers together at an isolated desert motel.  When an officer Samuel Rhodes (Ray Liotta) arrives with a serial killer (Jake Busey), people begin to die…and the danger increases.  An officer turned limo driver named Ed (John Cusack) must uncover who the real murderer is before everyone is dead.  Meanwhile, a hearing seeks to find the truth of the mental state of a killer…and if his execution can continue.

Directed by James Mangold, Identity is a psychological horror mystery thriller.  The film received mostly positive reviews and had a strong box office showing.

Identity had some buzz, and for a spring movie, that is always a plus.  I rented Identity and remember thinking…well that wasn’t horrible.  Rewatching the movie, I found I remembered little of it, and I came out with the same result.  Due to the storyline in the film a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the movie.

identity dryer rebecca de mornay head

Rebecca’s “bit” part

Around the time of Identity, movies were going for the big twist.  M. Night Shyamalan had really reinvented the horror twist with The Sixth Sense and his other films and everyone was trying to get in on the action.  Identity tries to emulate this but it does it in a way that is more of a “got you guys!” feel to it.  Everything about the movie from the poster and tagline “The Secret Lies Within” screams twist and reveals the twist.  Within the context of the film, everything seems off right from the start and the movie makes the reveal about half-way through…and loses a lot of the compelling storyline as a result.  The final twist (aka the killer personality is the kid) feels like an afterthought and not a big deal…it is cheesy instead of effective.

The cast is solid.  John Cusack is always likeable and Ray Liotta always feels like there is simmering anger underneath him.  Amanda Peet plays the edgy prostitute persona but I don’t necessarily believe her in it.  John C. McGinley and John Hawkes are good additions to the film, but the idea that they are all personas leaves them one dimensional and unexplored.  Jake Busey appears as psycho as his character (in almost everything he is in), and other smaller roles in the film like Rebecca De Mornay, Alfred Molina, Clea DuVall, and Marshall Bell seem underused.

identity killer timmy bret loehr

Yeah…at this point it isn’t a twist. It is just an after thought…

The movie is intentionally dark, but being in a rainstorm for almost the entire film doesn’t get you the chance to create a great “motel” set.  As seen in movies like Psycho, motels are great locations for horror and suspense since they are fake little temporary homes, but here, the set-pieces don’t feel used as much as they could have due to the brevity of the story.

Identity is one of those clever movies you feel like you’ve seen before (aka it thinks it is smarter than it really is).  While there are parts that are fun and moderately (stress moderately) surprising, the film takes the obvious routes through most of the picture with every twist kind of exposing itself a second too early instead of the right time for the ultimate reveal.  There is nothing wrong with Identity, but largely it is a forgettable film.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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