Sunday, August 1, 2010

#39 - Identity - 2003

Identity was the 4th film I chose to watch this week and in every sense of the word this one was a mystery. A twisted mystery at that. This categorically speaking would be listed as a horror film but then again so was the Sixth Sense and I don't believe either would necessarily qualify for that however this would be more so than the Sixth Sense due to some of the gruesome death scenes. With that being said this is the first movie this week that was a post 2000 film as the previous three were all in the 90's. Below is my detailed review.

This film had a pretty decent cast led by John Cusack. Ray Liotta, John C. McGinley, Amanda Peet, Rebecca De Mornay, Jake Busey, and Alfred Molina all star as well. This film wasn't really about the quality of acting so I wont spend much time on it and I would say I thought the actor who did the best in this film was John C. McGinley. He played a husband whose wife was hit by a car and he had to tend to her all while caring for his stepson whom he was not that close with. He is good in most things he is in and this was no different. I felt his character was the most challenging as well and considering that I felt he did great!

Now if you haven't seen this film you need to because the following might seem a bit odd. On the other hand if you haven't seen this film and are planning to do not read any further. This would give away a lot, a hell of a lot to be honest. So *spoiler alert* in every sense of the word here because some of the information, scratch that all of the information that follows will give away the major plot and twists this film had. This film had a very interesting flow to it and if you didn't pay attention you could easily get lost. Fortunately for me I had seen it before but after my first time seeing it I was definitely perplexed for a bit but eventually I think I got it, or did I?

Malcolm Rivers is a death row inmate who is less than 24 hours away from his execution but his lawyers and doctor, Dr. Malick (Alfred Molina) believe they have found a loophole to stay his execution and a middle of the night emergency session is called where the state's attorney, judge, and all lawyers are required to meet and discuss these new findings. There are brief shots in the opening scene of the film which showed crime scene photographs and booking mug shots of Rivers along with his voice reciting a poem and this basically introduces us to this character. Right off the bat we realize they are dealing with a deeply disturbing individual who has committed haneous crimes. River's is played by Pruitt Taylor Vince who I immediately recognized from his role as the killer in the movie "Fear" with Ally Sheedy. He was a perfect choice for this role and although his role was limited he was good in the parts he was in. See pic below of Pruitt.

Without going into great detail about this film and its plot I will simply say this. The main characters in this film are all fictional created personalities by Malcolm himself and are not real or living. This is not known until the last 20 minutes or so of the film but when it is it gives a whole new look to this film at least from the audience's perspective. This film is set at a desolate motel in the middle of nowhere and that is where 90% of this film takes place. The setting although unchanged throughout most the movie is very dark and wet as I can almost guarantee there was more rain special effects used in this film than in any other in the history of cinema. I swear it was like raining the entire time. It all added to the film's overall flow though and created a more mysterious and suspenseful story which usually results in a more enjoyable viewing experience. It wouldn't have been the same had it not been in a dark desolate motel with constant rain but maybe that's just my love of dark scary movies at a desolate hotel or motel somewhere (ie: Psycho, Vacancy, etc).

This film started pretty quickly once the personalities of Malcolm came to fruition. Now granted like I said before nobody would know this had they not seen the film once before but that's basically when this film gets going. What I am going to do is simply list the death scenes in this film starting from first to last. Trying to explain the different personalities and all the subplots of the characters and their back stories would be exhausting and quite boring for anyone reading this so Ill just list it as simple as possible. Here goes.

The first person killed is has been actress Caroline (De Mornay). We don't see her being killed but Ed (Cusack) finds her head hidden in her bloody clothes thumping around in the large dryer in the laundry room behind the motel. The next person killed is newlywed Lou who is killed in his hotel room while his new wife is in the bathroom. Once again we do not see Lou being killed but on the aftermath, this actually becomes a pattern in this film as we never really see the death scenes take place, just the after effects. In easily the brutalist death scene in the film we see Robert Maine (Busey) the convicted murderer tied to a chair with a baseball stuffed down his throat. Pretty crazy visual if I say so myself. The next person who died was not killed but instead was Mrs. York who was the lady that was hit by a car at the beginning of the film. After that her husband was killed after being crushed to death by a truck driven by the Larry, the hotel manager. The next person to die was Larry himself after being shot to death by Rhodes who was actually a convicted murderer himself portraying to be a cop. Rhodes and Ed eventually had a shootout at the end of the film where they both ended up dying, Rhodes first and Ed a short time later. This left Paris as the only one left living out of the entire group along with the York's child.

What takes place at the end is quite odd and can be probably be interrupted several different ways but basically what takes place is that Malcolm gets a stay on his execution and at the end of the film we see Malcolm being transported in a van where he once again has visions of his personalities the final visions he would see. That last vision is of Paris at her home surrounded by Orange tree's in Florida. As she is digging in her garden she finds a key to a room at the hotel. The key is for Room 1 and when she looks up she see's the York's child holding a gardening tool tapping it as if he is about to kill her. Malcolm in the car is saying "nooo, nooo don't do it" but it is evident his vision is to have the child kill Paris. The film ends abruptly with Malcolm attacking and most likely killing the driver and his doctor in the van he is in. The at the end the creepy poem is read once again.

This film was pretty interesting to say the least. I think like I said before it can be interrupted several different ways but in the end the whole movie was a bunch of personalities imagined by serial killer Malcolm. It was creepy, dark, and suspenseful and I felt that although it was short (92 minutes) it was pretty entertaining throughout and had quite a twist at the end. With that being said this was not quite the caliber of movie that deserved an A grade therefore cutting my streak of A grade films. It was however good enough for me to give it is firm B!

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