Complete strangers stranded at a remote desert motel during a raging storm soon find themselves the target of a deranged murderer. As their numbers thin out, the travelers begin to turn on each other, as each tries to figure out who the killer is.
His story's so unbelievable, I think it just might be true.
Identity is directed by James Mangold and written by Michael Cooney. It stars John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amada Peet, Clea DuVall, Rebecca De Mornay, Alfred Molina, John Hawkes, John C. McGinley, Jake Busey and Pruitt Taylor Vince. Music is by Alan Silvestri and cinematography by Phedon Papamichael Jr.
Inspired by Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, Identity pitches 10 characters trapped at a motel who begin getting killed off one by one...
If you are going to do yet another take on Christies superb literary source then at least bring some freshness, so how nice to find that Identity does in fact ironically have its own. Set up is suitably in keeping with murder mystery shenanigans, there’s major flooding and our host of characters are bound to a shabby motel run by a shabby John Hawkes. On the edges of the frame we have another story where multiple killer Malcolm Rivers (the wonderful wobbly eyed P.T. Vince) is under interrogation to test for insanity to stave off his impending execution.
Mangold uses flashbacks to put the various characters at the motel, in how they came to be there. There’s a creative ambitiousness about how Mangold constructs the pic that draws you in, which come the finale will either have you satiated or stupefied. The murder sequences are very well put together, with a couple being well ghoulish, and it’s a very impressive cast of actors working their way through the formulaic but fascinatingly cheat free psychological murk.
It’s not as smart as it thinks it is but this has enough of an absorbing pull, and no little intelligence, to lift it higher than many other Agatha 10 copies. 7/10