Ever since Charles Foster Kane uttered "rosebud" at the end of "Citizen Kane" and theatergoers everywhere simultaneously groaned, "Two hours for a frickin' sled?" the gimmick film has been a Hollywood staple. From "Fight Club" to "Femme Fatale," seemingly complex movies are rendered meaningless by disingenuous directors who would rather rescue their rudderless plot by shooting a life raft out the butt of a camel-shaped cloud than by patching the hole in the boat.
Audiences will rush the ticket counter demanding refunds and the head of the highest-paid snack clerk once they've seen the end of "Identity." It effectively levels the playing field between those dutifully trying to unravel the film's mystery by paying attention to the smallest plot detail and those who overdosed on Sour Patch Kids around minute seven and spent the entire second act convulsing on the sticky theater floor.
John Cusack plays a limo driver and ex-cop named Ed who runs over George York's (John C. McGinley) wife, then finds himself at a seedy hotel during a downpour with a hooker (Amanda Peet), a cop (Ray Liotta) transporting a prisoner (Jake Busey), and some other below-the-line talent who start dying off one by one (according to salary, of course). Running concurrently to this story is a last-minute evidentiary hearing involving a murderer (Pruitt Taylor Vince) 24 hours away from execution.
Audiences won't realize the two stories are connected until it's too late. To make your time worthwhile, I suggest paying for half a ticket, leaving after 50 minutes and imagining a decent ending.
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