Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Endings Blog-a-Thon: Identity (2003)

A group of strangers stuck in a motel overnight watch the rain flood their surroundings. Then the bodies start piling up. The ragtag group stumble around, point fingers, and fail to come up with any concrete leads. The motel scenes intercut with a group of psychologists evaluating a crazy-looking patient. Watching the film, I was suddenly struck with a brilliant idea for a screenplay. A murder mystery that completely takes place in a schizophrenic guy's brain. You'd watch the film unfold and try to figure out why things aren't making sense. In the end, the plot's just the glitches and slips of a malfunctioning brain.


Heads are rolling around clothes dryers and my mind's spinning around my great new movie idea. Visions of opening my own Planet Hollywood and marrying Diane Lane slap a permanent smile on my face. No one is more creative than me. Bow down, Coen brothers. My movie is going to change the world.

My newly-greenlit project goes through quite a few name changes. Head Games and It's All in Your Head both fail to test well with audiences. They were able to guess the ending or something.

A conference call with our casting agents left things looking pretty grim. Daniel Stern and Bonnie Hunt both became attached to the newly re-written Mind Murder. Paul Ruebens signed on to play the crazy guy which led to Bonnie Hunt's agent informing us of her inability to star in our film.

Principal photography goes surprisingly smoothly. Variety prints an article announcing Walter Hill's comeback. The film screens for the LA and NY critics and is loved by each one of them. Limited releases in September, wide release just in time for the Halloween crowds. People are stopping the stars on the street, telling them, "What an ending! I never saw it coming! Genius." I'm hailed as the new "M. Night" by Mr. Shyamalan himself which I took to be a half-compliment.

My secretary was fielding phone calls from authors begging me to adapt their books. My favorite directors sent me copies of their films with notes attatched reading "Remake Me, Please." Things were certainly looking up for Mr. Gringo.

Then I watched the end of Identity.
It's all taking place in the crazy guy's brain.
Goodbye hopes and dreams.


Joel Bocko said...

Great post...I remember seeing this movie and wanting to like it more than I did. The story and the twist were fun, but somehow the film came off more as ridiculous than anything else. Perhaps it was too unaware of its own absurdity?

By the way, I linked up to your top 100 list in my year-end round-up of favorite posts. This might just have replaced that one, though I can't regret my choice as I had to give a nod to your chutzpah in tackling the big question (it has indeed encouraged me to attempt my own list, hopefully with a series going into each movie, sometime in the future.)

You can check out my post here (lots of other great links too):

Daniel said...

Uggh, what a horrible movie this was. Man, was I disappointed. Not at the idea, but just...everything else.

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