Barbara Hershey stars as Carla Moran, a hard-working single mother until the night she is raped in her bedroom by someone - or something - that she cannot see. Despite skeptical psychiatrists, she is repeatedly attacked in her car, in the bath, and in front of her children. Could this be a case of hysteria, a manifestation of childhood sexual trauma, or something even more horrific?
Ten strangers are stranded in a remote motel during a furious rainstorm and are killed off one by one as they await a gigantic, gold-plated pretzel of a plot twist. This is one of those high-concept pictures in which you can almost hear the pitch meeting echoing in the soundtrack. (Is it "And Then There Were None" meets "The Sixth Sense" or "Murder by Death" meets "Sybil"?). James Mangold's direction is sufficiently deft, and the cast sufficiently game, to make this a reasonably entertaining and surprising thriller, but its overblown pretentiousness spoils some of the fun, and may make you look back fondly on the cheap, grubby horror movies of old. — A. O. Scott
2003-04-25 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of Identity
Matt Damon plays Jason Bourne, a C.I.A. superassassin suffering from amnesia, who is chased across Europe, in the company of a charming German waif (Franka Potente), by his employers. There are espionage writers who use the genre to explore the complexities of geopolitics, but Robert Ludlum, on whose novel this competent, enjoyable picture is based, was not one of them. At a time when thrillers are shadowed by real-world anxieties, the implausibility and irrelevance of this movie, which amusingly imagines the C.I.A. as a super-competent, virtually omniscient operation, comes as something of a relief. Mr. Damon handles his characters' existential crisis with fierce adroitness, and Doug Limans direction has an old-fashioned swiftness and efficiency. — A. O. Scott
2002-06-14 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of The Bourne Identity