New York Times - 04/25/2003
"...Mr. Mangold handles the revelations and reversals of Michael Cooney's script with nerve-racking aplomb. There are horror-film conventions -- eerie sounds, slow camera movements, half-open doors and carefully arranged shadows -- that retain their effectiveness..."
USA Today - 04/25/2003
"...John Cusack is convincing....With moments of mind-bending creepiness..."
Entertainment Weekly - 05/02/2003
"...Delighting in his own considerable cleverness and cineast's knowledge of movie history, Mangold shuffles the elements like a three-card-monte pro..."
Variety - 04/21/2003
"...A snappily executed little thriller..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 04/25/2003
"...With a third act that causes us to rethink everything that has gone before. Ingenious, how simple and yet how devious the solution is..."
Los Angeles Times - 04/25/2003
"...Sleek and clever....IDENTITY is fine escapist fare with a saving sense of humor..."
Total Film - 12/01/2003
"...Stylish....A clever twist on the old strangers-stranded-in-scary motel plot..."
Ultimate DVD - 05/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "Mangold's noir thriller plays like Agatha Christie meets Alfred Hitchcock....A thriller that satisfies the grey matter, IDENTITY deserves to be seen."
IDENTITY, directed by James Mangold, is a thriller set at an isolated motel in rural Nevada during an unrelenting rainstorm. With all roads washed out and all forms of communication dead, a group of people become stranded at the motel along with the shifty manager (John Hawkes). Among the stranded are Ed (John Cusack), a former cop turned limo driver; Caroline (Rebecca De Mornay), a self-absorbed actress; Paris (Amanda Peet), a prostitute attempting to escape her profession; Rhodes (Ray Liotta), a cop transporting a prisoner (Jake Busey); Lou (William Lee Scott) and Ginny (Clea DuVall), bickering newlyweds; and George (John McGinley) and Alice (Leila Kenzle), a married couple travelling with their young son. Soon the waterlogged lodgers start dying in mysterious--and brutal--ways, and the increasingly dwindling number of survivors must discover the killer to prevent their own demises.
Riveting from the opening sequence, Mangold's suspenseful murder mystery wastes no time in turning on the tension. Realizing that truly scary cinema comes from the unknown and the unexpected, Mangold and screenwriter Michael Cooney keep the audience--and the film's characters--in the dark and continually create situations that go from bad to worse for the luckless travelers. Cusack anchors the film as the resigned but noble former policeman, while Peet reveals a depth previously unseen in her other movies. Actors such as Liotta, McGinley, Hawkes, and De Mornay round out the fine ensemble cast. As with many thrillers, IDENTITY has a big twist, but because of the filmmakers' excellent slight of hand, it's unlikely viewers will predict the bizarre outcome.