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IDENTITY

Ten strangers take shelter from a sandstorm in a spooky motel. One of the group meets a mysterious death. Then another, and another, and another. Will there be even one survivor?

CAST: John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, Alfred Molina, Clea DuVall, Rebecca De Mornay, John C. McGinley, John Hawkes, William Lee Scott, Jake Busey

DIRECTOR: James Mangold

"Dropping tiny clues like a trail of breadcrumbs, ‘Identity’ builds steadily from its smarter-than-your-average-horror-film beginnings to a genuinely cunning psychological thriller with a third-act twist guaranteed to shock even the most eagle-eyed watchers...Although this sleek nail-biter suffers from some strange lurches in tone, director James Mangold (‘Copland,’ ‘Girl, Interrupted’) ensures the suspense builds at a fast clip, and keeps a tight rein on credibility amid an extravagant pileup of coincidences…Mangold's taut direction and cinematographer Phedon Papamichael's angular close-ups make for genuinely spooky entertainment that never loosens." --Megan Lehmann, The New York Post

"It's a fascinating movie that, if you are able to make the leap it asks of you at about the three-quarter mark, will give you something to think and talk about for days. One thing is certain: It isn't predictable…nothing in the first hour is what we think it is, and the explanation, which sets up an entirely different kind of third act, is the likely departure point between viewers who love the movie and those who hate it…The always interesting Cusack and the usually menacing Liotta play to type, but like every other character, they have secrets to reveal. You may not buy their secrets. They may make you mad. But they are weirdly, fascinatingly logical." --Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News

"‘Identity’ is one of those inanely diverting B-movies that sophisticated audiences are loath to admit enjoying. It flatters and insults our intelligence with equal glee, then springs one of the oldest tricks in the book at the 11th hour…It can make for an exasperating ride, since the filmmakers fudge the line between earnest manipulation and flip self-mockery. ‘Identity’ is not without its share of laughs, intentional and otherwise. Whether or not the last one is on you depends on your willingness to join in on the joke." --Jan Stuart, Newsday

"‘Identity,’ a piece of elegant directorial hackwork by James Mangold (‘Girl, Interrupted,’ ‘Kate and Leopold’), goes through its generic paces with enough flair and mystery to keep you moderately entertained. The apparent premise, creaky though it may be, holds ample opportunity for suspense and second-guessing, and Mr. Mangold handles the revelations and reversals of Michael Cooney's script with nerve-racking aplomb…The second-handness of the situation, and of the characters who inhabit it, is explained — or justified, if you prefer — by an enormous, gold-plated pretzel of a plot twist that I will not divulge, lest my own head end up in someone's clothes dryer…‘Identity’ is not terrible by any means, but there is nonetheless something depressing about seeing so many interesting actors stuffed into such an empty, ersatz vehicle." A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"Throughout, the film teeters tantalizingly on the preposterous, but James Mangold's astute direction and Michael Cooney's carefully thought-out script keep it from sliding over the edge. ‘Identity’ is fine escapist fare with a saving sense of humor and an underlying premise that, when revealed, proves to be arguably plausible even if a reach…‘Identity’ asks considerable suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer, but Mangold's painstaking, rigorously focused direction provides plenty of incentive to go along with this psychologically complex variation on Agatha Christie's classic ‘Ten Little Indians.’" --Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times

"‘Identity’ seems almost like the result of some late-night, alcohol-fueled film school debate. The issue: Can one take the least reputable, the tawdriest, sleaziest, most banal and pathetic genre -- the slasher film -- and transform it into something fresh, clever and confident, while sticking strictly to the obligations of the form. The answer fashioned by James Mangold seems to be: Yes, pretty much… give the film the credit it earns for playing the game well and truly. It may be a bum game, but these boys really give it a ride." --Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post

"It's just loopy enough to be tantalizing, involving, and fun…a pretty wild ride if you're willing to leave your brain at the popcorn counter and let Mr. Mangold jolt your spine with every thriller-chiller trick in Hollywood's hefty book. I'm still not convinced he's a major director, but he's definitely back on the right road." --David Sterritt, The Christian Science Monitor