The film works on many different levels, but it has a quiet and discrete side that can be a little uncomfortable for some impatient viewers. Fans of Blood Simple and other neo-black films, like me, will have a field day.
A traumatized woman carefully plans her revenge.
Completely shaken after the sexual assault and rape, housewife Julie Kenner (Stephanie Rasco in an indelible performance) lapses into a state of near-catastrophe and mental illness in the months following the event. Her husband (John S. Davis) runs around her with his two young daughters, and he constantly calls on neighbors and doctors to help him with Julie, who is balancing on the edge of insanity. When Julie hears on television how someone has assumed someone else’s identity using fake IDs and birth certificates, a seed is planted in her mind and she emerges from her gloom to begin a plan to assume the identities of several people, which she creates using notes from the county clerk’s office. She began opening bank accounts and starting a new life elsewhere, while continuing her daily activities as a homemaker and part-time businesswoman. Her husband has no idea, and even as he begins an affair with her neighbor, Julia has changed her appearance and mannerisms to impose herself in her double life of beautiful vomit. Her plan slowly and shockingly takes shape when her rapist is released from prison with a reduced sentence, and we realize what she’s been working on all along: revenge.
Subtle in its art and style, Positive I.D. is a wild and fascinating race, especially since I had never heard of it before. The film was distributed by Universal, who took it over from writer/producer/director Andy Anderson, whose Texas team really produced a raw, high-impact drama. What makes the film so good is the actress Rascoe, who never really played a leading role again after this film, and she is a real diamond in the rough. She’s hard to take your eyes off her, and she manages to perform exceptionally well physically. The film works on many different levels, but it has a quiet and discrete side that can be a little uncomfortable for some impatient viewers. Fans of Blood Simple and other neo-black films, like me, will have a field day.
Next month, Kino Lorber will release a Blu-ray edition of Positive I.D. that I can’t recommend enough. This is the first time the film has been released on Blu-ray, but Universal has already released a DVD on demand, and Anchor Bay also released a DVD about two decades ago. The film edition is by far the most comprehensive yet and also includes a new audio commentary by a film historian and a trailer.