Walking up to the cinema complex on George Street, the line I was expecting for the preview screening of Identity was not to be found. There wasn't even much of a crowd to speak of, but then it was Monday and damn cold. While a small group of couples were fanning their faces readying themselves for View From The Top, Belvedere and I were pointed toward an intricate trail of carpet and metal. Down and down. Over my shoulder I noticed a vested man who looked like he was trailing us. But then we happened upon the open doors of theatre 5 and he just as soon disappeared. A dejected girl was also waiting outside the doors and commented on the lack of a line. Small was the gathering, a set up for the mood and tone of the movie awaiting to be eaten in lieu of the free flowing popcorn and soda that was not forthcoming.
I sensed hunger, and with it a sense of burning, like a piece of the stomach cannibalising itself.
The seats slowly started filling up and chattering was high but then some genius worked the crowd volume with the dimming of the lights. From the silence the trailers for S.W.A.T. and Bad Boys II didn't go down well at all. Tough crowd. Moochers who looked like they had jobs.
Identity is a film that feels warped, mainly due to the fact that the film looks warped. Either that or the projectionist was getting a little too friendly with the projector. One by one we're introduced to the characters as they make their way to the motel in the middle of a burial ground and one by one they get knocked off in various fashions.
Scene after scene the jaded crew felt like they needed to carry out a sheen of icy coolness and resolve in the faces of deaths' cards. Nervous laughter. Sadistic I presume.
Antigonish by Hughes Mearns is whispered a few times in the film,
As I was going up the stair
I met a man who wasn't there;
He wasn't there again today—
I wish, I wish, he'd stay away.
But when have stairs ever been by themselves? If even, isn't it then just a step?
No matter, the film managed to hold the attention of the many who were there and ends with the usual credit roll. Yet like the nature of the film the credits are quick paced and move along with a fine line toward the end.
Reviewed on Wednesday, 30 July 2003