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"IDENTITY"
(2003) (John Cusack, Ray Liotta) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Extreme Extreme Extreme Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Heavy Extreme None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Minor Extreme Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: A disparate group of strangers tries to figure out who or what is killing them, one by one, in the remote motel where they're stranded.
PLOT:
It's the night before convicted mass murderer Malcolm Rivers (PRUITT TAYLOR VINCE) is scheduled to be executed. In a rare move, his lawyer and psychiatrist (ALFRED MOLINA) have convinced a judge to allow them and their client to meet him to discuss whether Rivers is mentally fit to die for his crimes.

At the same time on that dark and rainy night, George (JOHN C. McGINLEY), his wife Alice (LELIA KENZLE) and her son Timmy (BRET LOEHR) have just had a blowout while driving down a remote road. While changing it, limo driver Ed (JOHN CUSACK), who's transporting faded TV actress Caroline Suzanne (REBECCA DeMORNAY), accidentally runs over Alice.

Desperate for help and with no cell phone coverage, they end up at a remote motel where they meet the clerk, Larry (JOHN HAWKES). His phone also isn't working due to former call girl Paris (AMANDA PEET) accidentally hitting a utility pole upon discovering that the local roads are flooded.

Also finding themselves stranded at the motel are newlyweds Ginny (CLEA DuVALL) and Lou (WILLIAM LEE SCOTT), as well as a cop, Rhodes (RAY LIOTTA), who's transporting another mass murderer, Robert Maine (JAKE BUSEY).

With Ed trying to get some sort of help for the badly injured Alice, the rest prepare to settle in for the night. Yet, things aren't particularly cozy, and when various people start dying from grisly murders in reverse order of the room key numbers, the dwindling survivors try to figure out who or what's responsible and how to avoid being the next victim.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into creepy, psychological thrillers or are fans of anyone in the cast, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong violence and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
To avoid giving away any late in the game surprises, revelations and developments, only the initial characteristics of the characters are noted below.
  • JOHN CUSACK plays a former cop turned limo driver who tries to find help for Alice after accidentally running her over. He then takes charge once people start dying and tries to figure out who or what is responsible and how to keep everyone else safe. He uses strong profanity.
  • RAY LIOTTA plays a cop who's transporting a mass murderer and tries to set up shop in the motel. Once people start dying, he also tries to figure out what's happening and competes with Ed for being the unofficial leader. He uses profanity.
  • AMANDA PEET plays a former call girl who dreams of running an orange farm in Florida, but finds herself caught in this nightmare. She uses profanity.
  • JOHN HAWKES plays the motel manager/clerk who accommodates everyone, but doesn't like Paris due to her vocation. He drinks and uses profanity.
  • ALFRED MOLINA plays the psychiatrist who's treating a mass murder he doesn't believe is mentally competent to be executed.
  • CLEA DuVALL plays a young newlywed who isn't happy about her marriage. She uses strong profanity.
  • WILLIAM LEE SCOTT plays her new but volatile husband who uses strong profanity.
  • JOHN C. McGINLEY plays a nervous man who tries to keep control after his wife is severely injured.
  • LELIA KENZLE plays his wife who's injured.
  • BRET LOEHR plays her son who apparently hasn't talked much since his real father left several years earlier. He must deal with tragedy in his life.
  • JAKE BUSEY plays a mass murderer who escapes from Rhodes' control and whom everyone believes is responsible for the murders.
  • PRUITT TAYLOR VINCE plays another mass murderer who's set to be executed in a day, but may not be mentally fit for that.
  • REBECCA DeMORNAY plays a vain, former TV actress who's only looking out for herself. She uses some strong profanity and briefly drinks.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated suspense thriller. Profanity consists of at least 30 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are used. Some sexually related dialogue is present, as is the sight of a call girl in bed in her lingerie with her client (who has whipped cream on his bare chest) and some porno magazines (but nothing explicit).

    Violence consists of both on and off-screen murders (by shooting, knifing and other means) and accidental deaths or injuries, some of which are extremely bloody and/or gruesome (including the sight of a severed head and another severe neck wound). Those scenes and many others (including various jump scenes) will likely be disturbing, suspenseful or downright scary to some/many viewers, and various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    Several characters drink, others smoke (or attempt to) and tense family material consists of unhappy newlyweds and a boy seeing both of his parents die. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, some of that occurs during thunderstorms in the movie.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see Larry drinking several shots of liquor.
  • Caroline has a shot of liquor.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see various still photos of murder victims, some of whom are rather bloody.
  • George walks into Larry's motel, carrying Alice who has blood on her and her clothes.
  • Alice has blood on the side of her head after being hit.
  • We see Ed sewing up Alice's severe neck wound (very graphic, with lots of blood on her, his hands and the bed beneath her). We later see the roughly sewn-up incision on her neck.
  • We see that Rhodes has a bullet hole in the back of his shirt with blood around it.
  • Ed finds a severed and bloody head in a dryer.
  • We see a dead and blood person propped up against a wall that also has blood on it.
  • Maine has blood on his face after Rhodes and Ed beat him.
  • We see a blood-covered motel room key.
  • Rhodes drags Larry into a room where we see that a person has been killed by having a full-size baseball jammed down their mouth and throat (we see the end of the bat sticking out).
  • Another victim's face is bloody.
  • We see blood on a dead body.
  • We see blood on a person's shirt after they're shot.
  • A person has blood on their neck.
  • More people who've been shot are bloody.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Those who murder others have extreme cases of both.
  • Caroline is a vain actress who doesn't want to stop and help Alice after her car accidentally strikes and severely injures her.
  • Larry has a bad attitude toward Paris due to her being a call girl (he repeatedly makes disparaging remarks).
  • Ginny tells Lou that she's not pregnant (the reason they got married) and that she lied about that.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" might be disturbing, suspenseful or scary to some viewers, as might much of the overall film that has a creepy/eerie vibe and aura to it (particularly since we don't know who or what is killing everyone).
  • A car graphically and suddenly slams into Alice as she backs up from her car and into the road. We later see this from the point of view of the car as it accidentally strikes her.
  • Ed slowly makes his way into the laundry room where several dryers are running. He stops two of them and then hears something loud thumping around in the last one. He then slowly goes to it, opens it and sees some material inside it. When he opens that material, he finds a severed and bloody head.
  • Ed and Rhodes slowly make their way through and around the motel at night in the rain, looking for the murderer.
  • Ginny hides in a locked bathroom as Lou becomes increasingly volatile on the other side (with lots of yelling). When he suddenly becomes quiet, she becomes concerned and then slowly starts to open the door when he bangs on it. When it becomes quiet again, she slowly opens the door only to have someone or something grab at it and try to hit her with a hatchet. She then struggles to get the door closed and locked, and then races to crawl out the window.
  • A dead and very frozen body falls out of a freezer.
  • Two men try to stop a third from escaping in a truck, but we then see that little Timmy is standing in its path. Another person manages to get him out of the way, but is then graphically hit by the truck and then smashed into a wall by that truck.
  • The survivors suddenly discover that all of the murder victim's bodies have simultaneously disappeared and a door suddenly slams shut on its own.
  • Part of the motel's roof suddenly collapses and we see a live electrical wire on the ground.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Knives/Shiv: Used to threaten or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "How the f*ck did you let that happen?" "F*cked up," "Looks like you're f*cked," "Shut the f*ck up," "F*ck you," "What the f*ck is he doing?" "Oh my f*cking God," "Bullsh*t," "Lying sack of sh*t," "Crock of sh*t," "Whore," "What the hell /is this about/are you doing?" "Idiot," "Pisses me off," "Stupid bitch whore" and "Shut up."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A car graphically and suddenly slams into Alice as she backs up from her car and into the road. We later see this from the point of view of the car as it accidentally strikes her.
  • Some sudden music might startle some viewers.
  • A person suddenly bangs on the door.
  • A person suddenly surprises another person.
  • A dead and very frozen body falls out of a freezer.
  • A person is suddenly behind another person.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 30 "f" words (1 used with "mother"), 20 "s" words, 6 hells, 2 S.O.B.s, 1 damn, 10 uses of "G-damn," 7 of "Oh God," 3 of "Jesus Christ" and 1 each of "God," "Jesus," "Jesus, mother of God," "Oh Jesus" and "Swear to Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We hear Rivers stating his mother was a "whore."
  • We see a flashback of Paris, a call girl, with a man in bed. She's wearing a bra (that shows cleavage) and panties, while he's shirtless (but wearing boxers) with a small pile of what looks like whipping cream on his chest (with several birthday candles in it).
  • Caroline shows cleavage.
  • Larry has a bad attitude toward Paris due to her being a call girl and tells her that they don't rent their rooms by the hour.
  • We can see that Paris intrigues Rhodes and he asks for her name. After she tells him, he says he's never been there (double entendre for the place and her) and she replies that he's not going tonight.
  • Ginny tells Lou that she's not pregnant (the reason they got married).
  • We see various porno magazines, but nothing explicit (just women with their hands over their breasts, etc.).
  • SMOKING
  • Paris tries to smoke several times (looking for a lighter), while a miscellaneous character smokes once.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • George and Timmy must deal with Alice being severely injured.
  • We hear that Timmy hasn't said much since his father (apparently an abuser) left two years ago.
  • We learn that Ginny and Lou got married because she lied about being pregnant and their new marriage is extremely rocky and volatile.
  • A father and son must deal with their wife/mother's death, and the boy later sees his father die.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • What constitutes identity.
  • Capital punishment of those not mentally fit to face it.
  • Ginny tells Lou that she's not pregnant (the reason they got married).
  • Multiple personality disorder.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A car graphically and suddenly slams into Alice as she backs up from her car and into the road. We later see this from the point of view of the car as it accidentally strikes her.
  • Paris accidentally backs her car into a utility pole, but is uninjured.
  • When Caroline won't get out of the limo that Ed needs to use to drive for help, he literally drags her out of it.
  • Ed grabs Lou in his car when he won't help.
  • Rhodes backhands his prisoner.
  • We see the end results of several murders (a severed and bloody head in a dryer, a bloody body in a motel room, etc.), but don't see the actual acts.
  • Lou kicks a motel lamp in anger.
  • We see a dead and blood person propped up against a wall that also has blood on it.
  • Maine breaks glass in a door to gain entry to a building. Rhodes then punches him and the two struggle, with Ed then joining Rhodes in punching and otherwise hitting him.
  • Rhodes drags Larry into a room where we see that a person has been killed by having a full-size baseball jammed down their mouth and throat (we see the end of the bat sticking out).
  • A man holds a knife to a woman's throat and threatens to cut her, as two other men hold guns on him. She then elbows and drives him backwards to escape.
  • A person is graphically hit by a truck and then smashed into a wall by that truck.
  • A car explodes and presumably kills several people, but no bodies can be found.
  • We see a convict kill an authority figure (who's driving) by stabbing a shiv into some part of his body from the back seat.
  • A person is shot and killed.
  • A person briefly knocks another person unconscious by hitting them on the head with a fire extinguisher.
  • A person shoots another person several times, killing them. He then repeatedly shoots at another person who flees.
  • Two men shoot each other several times, resulting in both of their deaths.
  • A woman is apparently killed with some sort of garden tool (swung by another person, but we don't see the impact).
  • We see various quick flashback images of various incidents listed above.
  • A person strangles another person from behind.



  • Reviewed April 17, 2003 / Posted April 25, 2003

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