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Indentity **
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Starring John Cusack, Ray Liotta, and Amanda Peet
Directed by James Mangold


     "Identity," a murder mystery from director James Mangold ("Cop Land," "Girl Interrupted") is marketed as a "who done it," but it ends up to be a "why'd I watch it?"  The uneven thriller stars John Cusack and Ray Liotta.  The problem with the movie certainly isn't the stars, who, as part of a talented ensemble, play their parts with ease, especially Cusack.  My main problem is the script, intriguing at first, but eventually disappointing at the point of plot twist.  There are some movie goers who undoubtedly will find the twist shocking and entertaining, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth.  I won't reveal anything here, but I will say that it seemed like a cop out for a movie that had me glued to my chair for a long, good while.  The twist came and my chair became slippery; I no longer enjoyed the movie, only disliked it for giving me something good and then pulling it away laughing.
     The story is basically a "who done it," involving a group of seemingly unrelated people who become for all purposes trapped in a hotel due to a storm blocking all ways out.  A family car breaks down, leaving the father, mother and young lad who occupied it in the rain.  A limo driver, John Cusack, driving a fallen Hollywood actress, played by Rebecca De Mornay, gets in a accident, leaving the driver to try to help the people he hits.  Their destination, a hotel in the middle of nowhere.
      The hotels occupants soon build up to include a recently married couple, a hooker with high aspirations, and a cop (Liotta) carrying a murderer.  Soon, guests start dying, the murderer escapes, and everyone becomes suspect. Sound familiar?  Sure, it does.  But, "Identity" keeps you hooked with little surprises along the way, culminating in the big twist three-fourths of the way through, killing the excitement and leaving me scratching my head.  I get the movie, the sractching stems from the question of why the writer didn't capitalize on a decent script gone wrong.
     Mangold directs with a great non-linear flair, taking through the story, but never losing us along the way.  he gets the best out of his cast, but no one could save the movie from haphazard scritpting.
     Don't see this movie, I mean it. 

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