A woman wakes up in rural France, with no memory and few clues to her identity aside from a mysterious scar on her body and a bag full of money.
A local high-profile politician has been murdered in his home; alone and afraid of her involvement the woman avoids the police and goes on the run, trailed by a sinister group intent on killing her. With the help of the owner of a local boarding house she discovers that she is in fact Danish, and flees abroad to uncover her past.
It would be unfair to reveal much more of the plot for ID:A, as like amnesiac thrillers such as Memento and the Bourne films, the appeal is in knowing as little as their heroes and watching as the mystery slowly unfolds. Early on it at least has this going for it, but despite the interesting mix of political extremists, gangsters and family secrets, ID:A backs away from the challenge and what eventually surfaces from behind the familiar plot device is a pretty conventional chase movie.
The first part of the film focuses closely on Tuva Novotny as the protagonist Ida (geddit?), capturing her sense of alienation and confusion from regaining consciousness to gradually picking up the clues to her history. Even when she discovers her family and husband it’s unclear which of them she can really trust, and any suspicions you have that she might suddenly turn on her pursuers and discover high-kicking, neck-snapping martial arts skills are settled when she cunningly hides in some bushes.
It’s not that film, but at least early on the subjective view does well to hide the film’s contrivances, making the plot a little easier to swallow, and this really would have helped when it comes to the discovery of her husband’s bizarre double-life (imagine a sadistic Pavarotti) one of the film’s major weaknesses as credible drama, which makes you wonder if someone has picked the plot twists out of hat.
If Memento and Bourne stick to the amnesia set up and see it through, ID:A finds it too difficult to sustain after about forty minutes, so the obvious answer is what they do in cartoons – knock her over the head again so she remembers everything.
We jump back in time to find out everything that led up to her loss of memory, and from then on the narrative conveniently shifts to a wider view that lets us in on some of the conspiratorial goings-on, but what gets lost is the emotional focus that made the first part engaging.
What’s left is a reasonable enough, slightly anonymous Euro-thriller, with the obligatory nifty car chase in a multi-story car park. It’s all pretty satisfactory and at least some of the emotional interest is maintained by the uneasy trust between Ida and her brother Martin (Carsten Bjørnlund).
ID:A is really a weak mix of the psychological thriller of Memento and the relentless action of Bourne, without the conviction to do really do justice to either. If you need a fix of Scandinavian thriller it might just do, otherwise catch it on late night tv instead of that Deal or No Deal repeat.