During one of the worst rainstorms in Nevada history, ten strangers are trapped
by torrenting water in a roadside Motel. Limo driver and ex-cop Ed (Cusack)
is doing his best to keep everyone calm tension starts to mount but one by
one the group starts to be picked off by an unknown killer. With everyone
suspecting everyone else, trust is the last thing on anyone's mind until the
identity of the killer is known.
The director of Copland, James Mangold returns to form with
a Hitchcock inspired murder mystery.
Twisting and turning towards, it has to be said, a slightly
too high concept ending, Identity is well-acted drama that really keeps you
guessing who the killer is going to be. John Cusack is as good as ever, proving
again that he is an actor of great diversity after managing to remove himself
from the romantic comedy genre. He is supported well by Ray Liotta, who is
at last finding himself some far better roles, and Amanda Peet, who show she
is more than just a pretty face. The rest of the cast is also good, especially
the very underrated John Hawks as Hotel manager Larry. He is an actor who
you always recognise but can never put a name to.
For the first hour and ten minutes the movie works extremely
well. The dramatic tension builds up at a steady pace as each victim meets
a grizzly end but the last twenty minutes take the movie into a completely
unexpected and slightly over the top plotline that undoes most of the hard
work already put in. While the big twist does have an air of originality,
it does seem a little too far fetched as it relies on a classic psycho murderer
cliché that only really ever happens in the movies.
Identity still has a lot of positives going for it as the cast
are very watchable and the twists and turns are never predictable. Even with
the slightly over the top ending, the movie does enough to keep you guessing
all the way until the finale.
Presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen with a 5.1 Dolby Digital.
The picture and sound quality are first rate. Even though the film is quite
dark throughout, the colours are vibrant and everything is crystal clear.
The surround sound is also first rate, especially the continual sound of the
rain that seems to engulf you and the thunder really gets your sub-woofer
Original or extended cut of the movie
An extended version of the movie is available for selection with two extra
scenes, totalling 3.29 mins. These scenes show more of Alfred Molina's character
and a montage of the murders nearer the end of the movie. These scenes are
branched into the original cut.
Audio commentary with Director James Mangold
Director James Mangold talks passionately about film and the influences on
which he drew from while putting the movie together. He compares Identity
to a stage play with only on set or location, in this cast the hotel which
allows the film to concentrate on character development and plot and not the
just the spectacle. He also talks at length about the cast and their performances,
the hotel set and how the film is structured. The commentary is very good
and informative but watch the movie first because he does reveal a lot of
the plot twists before they happen.
Audio commentary with Michael Cooney
Having a writer talk about his screenplay is always an interesting commentary
and this is no exception. He talks in great detail about his influences for
the script and backs up the main premise with some extremely interesting research
quotes. He also breaks down the characters, telling us their reasons for been
involved in the plot and some of the changes they went through before they
reacted the screen. This is a very interesting and passionate insight into
the screenwriting process.
Featurette: Starz - - On the Set of Identity (14.32 mins)
Stars John Cusack, Ray Liotta and Amanda Peet and director James Mangold talk
about making the movie. This is your usual patting each other on the back
kind of featurette that seems all too evident on DVDs these days. The actors
rave about how good it was working together and how much they loved the script
etc, nothing original. There are some good behind-the-scenes shots about how
the filmmakers produced all the rain but there are far too many clips from
the movie and not enough information or cast and crew insights.
Deleted Scenes (5.25 mins)
Four deleted scenes are saved from the cutting room floor for us to enjoy.
These are quite well done as the original film footage is shown in black and
white and then switches to colour when the deleted footage has been inserted.
Each scene also has Director's commentary explaining why it was removed.
You can watch three scenes from the movie, Lou's demise, George's death and
Rhodes backstory, with the storyboard illustrations to accompany the scene.
The screen is slight in half showing the storyboard at the top and the actual
footage at the bottom. This gives an interesting insight into the film making
Lists of films that John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, director James Mangold
and writer Michael Cooney have been involved with. Trailers Trailers for Identity,
Thi3teen Ghosts, Darkness Falls and Hollow Man
While the featurette maybe very lacklustre the excellent audio
commentaries more than make up for this small distraction. The deleted scenes
and Storyboard comparisons are also good but I wish they would stop but filmography
lists on discs, as they should be biographies with this information included.
If you liked the movie, Columbia/Tristar have produced a good quality transfer
with some decent extras that make this a good purchase for fans.
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