ID:A is a Danish mystery thriller from Director Christian E. Christiansen that comes in the same vein as darkly Scandinavian dramas such as The Killing, Headhunters and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Like a Danish take on The Bourne Identity, ID:A opens to a woman waking in a river, not knowing who she is or how she arrived there, quickly she comes to find a bag full of money and a gun – posing the questions, who is she, where is she, and what is going on?
Wondering into the nearest town the unknown woman gets a room in a local hotel, making up a name based on words/objects around her, with the notably handsome hotel owner’s son taking an instant – if somewhat unexplained – shine to her, recognising her general confusion, and graciously helping her above and beyond the usual bellboy requirements. Their interaction quite easily sums up many of those throughout the movie as the (as yet) unnamed woman is helped along by a series of characters, some of whom have seemingly no motivation to be doing so other than to drive the plot froward.
Eventually finding out her name is Ida after travelling back to Copenhagen (where she has deduced she might be from), she is reunited with her husband and things begin to fall back into place, that is despite still not having the slightest idea how she ended up unconscious in a river with a gun, or why she has a rather substantial amount of money in a large duffel bag. From there characters fall in left, right, and centre to fill in, unprompted, massive chunks of narrative, blithely accepting her story of amnesia, in order to better elucidate Ida, and therefore the viewer, as to who and what she is. For all the movies slow paced murkiness it begins to build a rather complicated story of assassinated politicians, radical political activist groups, criminals, and various other plot strings, weaving around Ida like a confusing knot obscuring the truth.
Unable to work out who is following her and why, who to trust, or the underlying story, Ida eventually regains her memory under the stress of physical violence and the plodding movie jumps back in time in order to fill in the story. Whilst ID:A has the requisite scenes of, frankly brutal, violence present in some of the other recent filmic exports from Scandinavia it isn’t as absorbing to watch, rather the story bumbles along slowly, building a little anticipation but not enough to be particularly gripping. Ida, played by Tuva Novotny, is easily the most notable aspect delivering a feisty performance as the female protagonist.
Despite some laudable cinematic sequences and a fairly action packed climax, the movie fails to reach any measure of greatness; which is not to demean it as bad cinema, it is just fairly middle of the road entertainment. ID:A is a vaguely pedestrian thriller with a couple of twists and turns, something that if it came on you wouldn’t need to turn it off, but ultimately not something to seek out directly.
ID:A is out on DVD May 14.
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