I’ve been ranting and raving about the previews they have been showing for Identity since Final Destination 2. Being the most incredible and powerful preview I’ve ever seen, I didn’t think it could live up to the hype, but in fact, the preview says it all. The preview shows us the main idea around Identity, only its just the first ingredient in one of the greatest dishes ever assembled. Identity begins by bringing a group of people into a Bates Motel look-alike Motel and things unfold from there. In the beginning it is quite a simple plot, George York (John C. McGinley) busts into the motel with his wife in his arms bleeding to death, while his little boy Timothy (Bret Loehr) silently stands behind. We then go through a series of flash backs, then flash forwards setting up Identity. I know it appears simple, but I assure you, it is far from it.
I can name about a hundred things that make Identity one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen. The first reason is probably the most obvious, the cast. Seriously, look at everyone in this film! Identity has a mass amount of what could be the best low price actors in film today. Seriously, we get Amanda Peet (Saving Silverman), John Cusack (about a million great 80’s flicks), Ray Liotta (Goodfellas), Jake Busey (Frightners), John McGinley (Platoon), Alfred Molina (who’s playing Doc Oc in Spiderman 2), Clea DuVall (Ghost of Mars), Rebecca De Mornay (Risky Business), and more! Holy crap, just look at that list, every single one of them played their part perfectly to a “T.”
John Cusack plays Ed, who’s an ex-cop turned limo driver for actress Caroline Suzanne (Rebecca De Mornay). He’s intense, smart, and knows how to control the situation at hand. The situation? People are dying, but who’s done it? In the midst of Clue, every single actor brings you a level of fear. Could Ray Liotta have done it? Isn’t Jake Busey a bad guy in every film, maybe he did it? Maybe it was John McGinley, his wife was hurt by one of the other actors on accident, but maybe he blew his gasket? There’s no way you could guess, so don’t even bother, just sit back and let things unfold in front of you.
As I pointed out, Identity is said to be like the Sixth Sense , how so you ask? I say its because of James Mangold and Michael Cooney. Just like M. Night Shyamalan, where in gods name did these guys come from? Michael Cooney’s previous writing experience includes the likes of Jack Frost and Jack Frost 2! Yep, I am in fact referring to those incredible unwitting garbage they stuck on the video shelves with the cool box to help sell it. How did Cooney get from point A to point B? It’s simple, with an incredible script, something fresh and new, assembled with another surprise, James Mangold’s directing. Look at Mangold’s resume: Copland, Girl, Interrupted, and Kate and Leopold, its incredible what he has learned filming those movies. Identity will make him known, and turn him into a big time Hollywood director.
The camera work is distinct; it’s full of various shots and set up in one of the most unsettling motels since the Bates Motel. The unletting and relentless rain, with the constant thunder and lighting add to the suspense. Mangold creates tension around every corner, with Cooney’s whom done it approach and with the sudden mysterious surprises that await you. The feel is if you are watching The Others, Identity is very unsettling, the entire movie you find yourself on the edge of your seat.
It’s extremely hard to say anything else if I want to keep the surprise in the bag. But I’ll leave you with this; I cannot guarantee you will enjoy the conclusion to this film. I’ve read numerous reviews and have found that the end either makes or breaks the film for the viewer. For me, it was incredible, when you thought you were left hanging, things just kicked started into third gear, then fourth! Identity never seems to end, until everything is tied together and you leave the theater with a clear understanding of the events that took place, and by no means is it boring. Get ready for what truly is the best thing since The Ring, and do not leave your seat, for anything!