Reviews

Identity

By Garth Franklin
Identity

Despite initially looking to be a direct rip-off of Agatha Christie's multiply-adapted "And Then There Were None" story, "Identity" adds in a few extra twists and the standard serial killer element to boost the pacing and excitement - the thing is though, it works.

The idea of trapping nearly a dozen individuals in a remote location isn't new, but by putting it in a Bates-esque motel in a deluge it allows James Mangold to come up with a surprisingly rich visual flick which is a guilty pleasure to watch as its script spins out into more and more ludicrous directions. In another person's hands it could easily have become a waste but the great cast and Mangold's sure hand keep the narrative flowing fast and tight throughout.

The opening is a good demonstration of his skill as the concept is setup and our characters are brought together - instead of one subplot after another it uses a nifty flashback/time jump trick which is a little disorienting but works well in quickly establishing who these characters are.

Then things go soggy for about half an hour as the initial murders begin but with about 40 minutes to go things pick right up throughout the second half as twist upon twist starts but the thing is whilst some of them are predictable, others are quite cleverly pulled off in both their concept and the way they're revealed. Performance wise the cast does a solid job, nothing special except maybe the return of Rebecca DeMornay (albeit a bit part) and Liotta & Cusack not really doing much - though Peet holds her own.

Make no mistake about it though - its a dumb popcorn movie made for mystery movie fans and on that level it works. If you don't get into mystery movies - and I mean the old Agatha Christie or Murder She Wrote style ones, you won't really get this.

The best kind of mystery movie keeps you enthralled so much you barely have time to speculate as to what's happening and so when the revelation hits your blown away. If you go in trying to guess the twist right from the beginning you won't enjoy as there are slow patches and it does get cliched - the whole point of these is to sit back and let the tale unfold at its own pace rather than trying to jump ahead. You do that, then you'll have fun.

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