Review – Identity (2003)

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IDENTITY

Welcome to Mind Control Month | Mental Health Week – Day 4. I am writing this super early in the morning because I’m closing on a house today, so I’ll be uber busy for a little while. Out of the five films I’m reviewing this week, Identity is one of the only ones I haven’t already seen. That and tomorrow’s film, but that’s for later. Identity just looked interesting. I wasn’t really sure how it would figure into the themed month or week, other than the obvious title hint, so I was just chugging along for the ride when I was watching this movie. So, let’s first talk about the plot before we get into the review.

Strangers from all different walks of life: a limo driver escorting a fading television star, parents with a young son whose marriage is in crisis, a cop transporting a dangerous convict, a beautiful call girl, a couple of young newlyweds, and a nervous motel manager are caught up in a severe rainstorm, stuck at a motel in desolate Nevada. Soon they realize they may be at the motel for another reason when one by one, people start getting killed off. As tensions flare and fingers are pointed, they have to get to the bottom of why they’re there. Meanwhile, in an undisclosed location, a psychiatrist is trying to prove the innocence of a man accused of murder in an eleventh-hour trial. (IMDb)

Eat your heart out, Agatha Christie. This film is clearly making a nod to the popular tale, And Then There Were None, in this psychological thriller. I like to also point out the similarities to the film, Clue, for the same reasons. This is a concept I can back. I love it, it’s classic yet modern in all the right ways, plus it’s headed up by a really impressive cast – especially for a film that’s ultimately toeing towards the line of horror. The first few things you’ll notice in the film is that sometimes, the acting can be corny, but what makes up for it are the characters and the way the movie is ultimately edited. It is really difficult to intermingle a dozen characters lives effectively, and I thought what they did here was pretty brilliant.

These are all just first impressions, though. I’ll try my best to keep important details to a minimum, as this is a movie that could potentially spoil the viewer with too much info, so let’s just get to the basic and break down Identity to interpret the stars.

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PEOPLE SCORE – 7/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 2|Casting – 2|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 1

First up, we have the people category, starting off with the subcategory of acting. The acting was neither terrible or great, mostly typical and forgettable. While it didn’t start out the best, the acting did get better later on. These characters were diverse, unique, and most importantly, memorable. That’s part of the whole point of the film. It just wouldn’t work without the characters being what they are. I am convinced that nobody else can play these characters; they are perfect for these roles. In this film, there were characters that certainly held independent importance and purpose, but not enough. The main characters basically held the importance while everyone else sorta blended together. As far as the chemistry goes in this film, there wasn’t much of it, unfortunately. While it was fine, no one really cares about the relationships in this film.

WRITING SCORE – 9/10
Dialogue – 1|Balanced – 2|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2

Next up, we have the writing category, starting off with the dialogue subcategory…which was as unremarkable and forgettable as the meal you had last Tuesday afternoon. There was one line of dialogue that is repeated here and there, making it automatically memorable, but that’s it. I would certainly say that the film is also very well-balanced and consistently holds a strong focus on the story at hand. When it comes to the story, this film knows what it’s doing. Not only is the story alone interesting, but it sticks with you because it has meaning and purpose. In my opinion, I also think this film feels fresh and pretty darn original. Was this movie interesting? Of course it was, don’t be silly. I was all-in for this one.

BTS SCORE – 8/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 2|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 2|Music – 1

Next up, we’re taking a look at behind-the-scenes, starting with the visuals. In this case, the visuals were pretty standard and typical to what you’d expect. Nothing blows you away, nothing looks horrible, either. It is what it is, folks. The director actually did a really good job here, though. The director had a tough job ahead of him in both a storytelling perspective as well as an effective camera work perspective, both of which he excelled in. The editing was pretty darn impressive in this film as well. I’m always impressed when something surprising shows up thanks to the editor, and that is what you get here, as all of these characters come together. As with most films, I consider this film to be exactly as-advertised, which is good. There wasn’t anything fancy or memorable about the music. It was basically as good as it needed to be in order to keep the tone in place…and that’s what they did here, as well.

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 10/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 2

Next up, we’re chugging right along into the narrative arc category, which is one of the easiest categories to score highly in. First up, we’re looking at the introduction, which did perfectly. By the inciting incident, we knew who everyone was, the basic setting, and what’s going on in these people’s lives. How about the inciting incident? That was perfectly clear and set the rest of the film up for a good ride (them meeting at the Motel). How were the obstacles? Totally fine. There were plenty of clear obstacles in the way, just as you’d come to expect (mysterious murders). How was the climax? The climax was perfect. It felt like a perfect culmination of everything else put together, just as it should. Lastly, we’re gonna talk about the falling action, which was really great. It had a nice little calming down moment and a definite returning to a new norm moment as well, so that’s good.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 8/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 1|Impulse/Talk – 1|Sucks Audience IN – 2

Next up, we’re asking if this film is any good to be considered entertaining when all is said and done. First up, we ask if it is rewatchable, to which I say…yes! I would have no issues checking out this movie again! Is this a film I would consider fun while watching? Oh yeah, absolutely. Whatever technical problems the movie may or may not have, it is definitely fun, and that’s something no one can take away from it. Would I like to buy this movie? Well, maybe…if it was either on sale for cheaper or if I just bought the digital copy. What about talking to somebody about the film that hasn’t heard of it? Maybe, I’m not sure. I might have a normal discussion about it, but I won’t be losing my mind to tell them about it, either. Does this suck you in, though? Oh, definitely. I never once had a problem getting lured into everything that was happening in this film.

SPECIALTY SCORE – 45/50
Monthly Theme – 5|Weekly Theme – 10|Thriller – 10|Mystery – 10|Halfway Decent – 10

Finally, we move onto the specialty questions that I asked before seeing the film. First, we look at the themed month and week. For mind control month, I’m not sure if I can really put this down for that. In a way, it is, but it never really feels that way nor focuses on that angle, so I’ll only give half points for that. As for the weekly theme of mental health, the film doesn’t shy away from that at all. I’d definitely give this full points, but I can’t say anything more about that without giving anything away. This is also listed under mystery and thriller, so how did these genres go? The mystery was always, always fascinating. I somewhat figured out what was going on, but I couldn’t place everything. As for the thriller aspect, absolutely. Like I said earlier, the film toes the line of horror many times, which definitely means it hits that thriller area quite often, full points for that. Finally, was this movie halfway decent? Definitely. In fact, it was quite a surprise as to how decent it really was. Full points.

TOTAL – 87/100

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