Identity James Mangold

Identity James Mangold
Identity's saving grace comes with a third-act revelation that successfully transforms it from a future staple of the discount bin at your local video store to a respectable, even clever, thriller. It would be unethical for any reviewer to give away the twist, but suffice to say that it comes with the realisation that you have been manipulated into thinking you were watching a cliché-ridden slasher film. Of course, until the plot point, you have been. John Cusack stars as Ed, a beaten-down former L.A.P.D. officer-turned-limo driver for fading screen queen Caroline Suzanne (a scenery-devouring Rebecca DeMornay). While driving through the Nevada desert during a torrential downpour, Ed accidentally hits a woman who looks on as her husband (John C. McGinley) changes a flat tire. Rushing to a nearby motel, both men soon realise that roads are flooded in both directions. They check into the motel, along with a cast of potential miscreants ranging from the prostitute (the smart, energetic Amanda Peet) to the cop with a short fuse (go-to short-fuse guy Ray Liotta) and his homicidal maniac prisoner (go-to maniac guy Jake Busey). One-by-one guests begin to meet untimely demises as nearly everyone is branded a suspect. Sounds pretty lame, right? Oh, you jaded cinephile, you! Did I mention that Identity features no less than four permutations of homicidal maniacs? You like gore, right? It's got plenty. And rain, lots and lots of rain. The DVD has an abundance of special features, including commentary from director Mangold (Girl, Interrupted), deleted scenes, and a widescreen "branched" version of the film with an alternate ending. (Don't get too excited, it's merely a less subtle re-edit of the original.) If you're a fan of the genre, Identity serves up all the requisite guilty pleasures without the guilt. It's like low-fat ice cream that's actually tastier than the original. It's still junk food, but it sure is sweet. Extras: commentary; deleted scenes; more. (Columbia)