Hypothetical Netflix Rating 4.3 out of 5

Oh, Identity, you tricky bitch.This 2003 film threw fourteen year old me for a loop. This psychological thriller is a perfect example of misdirection and slight-of-hand making a movie. The twist ending (which we’ll talk about below in the spoilers) was and is one of the better reveals I’ve seen. But let’s crawl before we walk.

The movie centers around an ensemble cast of characters including, but not limited to, John Cusack (who’s been in at least a movie almost every year since 1983. He took ’95, ’04, ’11 off for some reason.) an ex -cop this time around,  John C. McGinley (Dr.Cox) a father and husband, Amanda Peet (this is her best movie) a hooker with a heart of gold, Clea Duvall (she was in Ghosts of Mars oddly enough) half of a newly-wed couple, Ray Liotta (All his life he wanted to be a gangster, but he plays a “cop” in this movie), and Gary Busey’s brother (his name is Jake, he is his own person) who plays Ray Liotta’s prisoner. All these characters find themselves stuck at a motel during a heavy rainstorm. Then they start dying one by one, sometimes in strange way. Eerie ways.

This movie is wonderfully paced, laying it’s cards one by one on the table like a methodical, criminal mastermind playing solitaire. To spite the fact that the plot is basically “And Then There Were None,” a book by Agatha Christie, the fundamental changes that were made turns this movie into that something extra that really pulls the audience in. It’s the “why?” of the movie that keeps it going.

So. Ready to talk about the big twist? If you haven’t seen it let, don’t worry. I’ll wait right here. Finished? Good. Everyone at the hotel is part of the same fractured mind, the mind of Malcom Rivers (played by Pruitt Taylor Vince) and the whole point of the movie was for his multi-personalities to kill each other of, till there is just one, hopefully non-homicidal, personality left. This masterstroke plan came from Dr. Octopus (Alfred Molina) who is Malcom Rivers’ therapist.

What really makes this movie great is that on repeat viewing, you can pick up hints of the twist from the outset of the film. Probably my favor part of the movie, Pruitt Taylor Vince, the actor, a real person, has nystagmus, a disorder which causes his eyes to move involuntarily. Every once and a while during the movie, you can see John Cusack mimic this action, hinting to the fact that his character is the same person as Vince’s. Kinda cool right?


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