Identity Kills

Here’s an odd one. The heroine of Identity Kills, a woman named Karen (Brigitte Hobmeier), spends much of the first hour veering between behaving oddly or complacent. Director Soren Voigt (who purportedly allowed his actors to improvise much of their own dialogue) refuses to allow Karen to become a figure that the audience cares about; in that opening hour, we learn virtually nothing about the woman. She’s essentially a person without an identity of her own, which is the point I suppose. But when she’s mistaken for a potential job applicant, Karen finds herself enjoying the prospect of assuming someone else’s life. This sets into motion a chain of events that will eventually culminate in a somewhat shocking closing ten minutes. If Voigt’s intent was to portray the dull everyday minutia of most people’s lives, he’s certainly succeeded. As we watch Karen deal with her abrasive boyfriend and struggle in her repetitive job, we become acutely aware of how miserable her existence must be. It’s only when she’s offered the chance to become a completely different person that Karen seems to become alive. It’s an intriguing concept for a film, and Voigt’s minimalist directorial style effectively compliments the tone – but the whole thing probably would have worked better as a short.

**1/2 out of ****

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