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On paper it sounds intriguing enough; ID:A is a Scandinavian thriller in the tradition of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Killing. What this actually means is, due to the success of the Danish crime series on British TV, any new film that falls into the category ‘conspiracy thriller’ is going to be snapped up by UK film distributors. Christian E. Christiansen takes to the director’s chair, attempting to make up for his dull as dishwater thriller The Roommate with a lukewarm take on the Bourne phenomenon.
Tuva Novotny (Eat Pray Love, Stoned) stars as Ida (see what they did there?), a woman we first meet waking from near death on a riverbank. She has a gaping head wound, a bag full of money and no memory of what has happened to her. Sound like a female Bourne to you? Well, maybe. Attempting to piece together the complex mystery of her past, she soon realises there are violent strangers on her tail and her life is in danger. Sound like a female Bourne to you? Think again. The set up of ID:A might seem overly familiar, but the execution is found wanting on so many levels. Also starring Flemming Enevold (The Killing II) and Carsten Bjornlund (The Thing; The Killing II), ID:A is available on UK DVD this May.
A local politician has been murdered, a guy at the local boarding house has the hots for our mindless heroine, and there’s a very good chance she comes from Denmark. Ida’s quest takes her to Copenhagen and a well-known opera singer called Just Ore (Flemming Enevold), who turns out to be her husband. Like much of what happens in ID:A, there’s more to him than meets the eye. Just’s past is clouded by darkness and he’s more than a little prone to domestic violence. That’s only half the story though, the rest of it is waiting to be discovered by anyone able to sustain interest in a movie that lacks cinematic punch and verve. Rest assured though, the obligatory car chases, gruesome torture sequences and random shoot-outs do their utmost to distract you from the absence of structure and plot.
The first 30 minutes do at least offer up some intrigue, as Ida’s search begins and a world of possibilities open up. Tuva Novotny is at her best in the opening act, with the film losing momentum as it takes the focus off her well-rounded ‘amnesia chick’. I’m convinced there’s a better film lurking in the background here, one that Christiansen seems all too eager to escape from. He handles the action sequences well enough, but there’s nothing particularly original or inspiring about them, and there’s not enough happening in-between to keep the viewer engaged. The camera barely leaves her side, but Novotny gets lost beneath a barrage of contrivances and confusion. You’ll wish you cared more as we head back in time, but chances are you’ll have switched off by then. There’s a chance you’ll know this already if you caught his lacklustre American debut, but Christiansen lacks the ability to build tension and suspense, failing to grab a hold of his audience at every turn.
Strong performances and the occasional sprinkling of action aren’t enough to keep ID:A afloat, and as is so often the case in films of this nature, Christian E. Christiansen’s soulless distraction is just as forgetful as it’s neglectful heroine.