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IDENTITY ($28) is a highly enjoyable little horror thriller that features some interesting twists and turns, as well as an air of the supernatural. I really canít say too much about the plot of IDENTITY, since it takes away from oneís initial discovery of the story, but a very brief synopsis wonít hurt. IDENTITY tells of a diverse group of strangers that are brought together during a violent rainstorm in the Nevada desert. Because all the main roads are flooded out, each is forced to take shelter in a somewhat rundown motel. As the storm rages on, some unseen killer begins picking off members of the group, one by one- leaving behind their motel room key as a calling card. IDENTITY is a really well acted little ensemble piece that features a solid cast of fairly big named players including John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, Alfred Molina, Jake Busey and Rebecca De Mornay.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made IDENTITY available on DVD in a 2.40:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. A cropped presentation is also offered on a separate layer, for those who like their movies butchered. There is also an option of viewing an extended version of the film. As for the wide screen version of IDENTITY, it is pretty much what one would expect from a brand new studio "A" production- it looks terrific. The image is very crisp and beautifully defined. Even though much of the film takes place at night and in a rainstorm, the picture has impressive clarity and definition. Colors appear strongly rendered, although the darkness prevents any form of vibrancy. Flesh tones are fairly natural and generally appealing, except when the lighting gets a bit arty. Blacks are dead on the money, whites are stable, plus contrast and shadow detail are excellent. The film element used for the transfer is virtually pristine, plus there is almost no appreciable grain during the presentation. Digital compression artifacts are usually held in check.

IDENTITY comes with a knockout Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The sound design is highly aggressive and makes excellent use of the surround channels for creepy ambient effects and directional sound effects- which heighten suspense and help keep the viewer on edge. Additionally, the soundtrack also creates a cohesive sense of space and maintains the illusion that the audience is in the middle of a rainstorm, along with the on screen characters. Dialogue reproduction is uniformly excellent, with the voices sounding natural and everything being completely intelligible. The bass channel is deep and authoritative, which not only enhances the rumble of the thunder and other effects, it also adds musical definition to the filmís score. A French Dolby Surround track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and French subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVDís interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few supplements. Director James Mangold is on hand to provide a rather entertaining and informative running audio commentary. From the Starz! Network is an On the Set program that runs approximately fourteen minutes and is pretty much a standard PR piece. Also included on the DVD are four deleted scenes with optional directorís commentary, three storyboard comparisons, a theatrical trailer plus cast & crew filmographies.

I found IDENTITY to be a rather enjoyable thriller with a great cast and intriguing twists and turns to its plot. As for the DVD, Columbia serves up a great looking and sounding disc, with a nice complement of extras. If the subject matter is appealing, then you canít go wrong by checking out this great little DVD.



Identity (2003)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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