Not everything in the movies is like real life. That’s particularly true when it comes to identity theft, where Hollywood takes a lot of liberties. Indeed, some types of identity theft may not make the most exciting cinematic stories, but they’re no less devastating for the victims. However, movies that do use identity theft as a plot device can be thrilling and there are plenty of them to watch. They offer action, comedy, and even some more surreal moments. Here we pick out five of the best movies about identity theft.
The clue is in the title of Identity Thief, the 2013 comedy film starring Jason Bateman as Sandy Patterson. Melissa McCarthy plays Diana, a con artist, who teals Sandy Patterson’s identity thanks to his unisex name. Diana has fun using Sandy’s identity to max out his credit limit from a different state and even commits crimes in his name. When Sandy discovers this, he realizes that the only way for him to clear his name is to go and find Diana himself. However, it turns out he’s not the only one after Diana and she has already crossed the wrong people. As you would expect from these two great comedic actors, it’s a hilarious adventure as Sandy desperately tries to get Diana to his home state to help him restore his identity.
The Bourne Identity
The very first film of the Jason Bourne franchise, The Bourne Identity begins with Matt Damon being picked up by a fishing boat off the coast of France with two gunshot wounds and retrograde amnesia. The only clue he has to discover his identity is the number of a safe deposit box. On the way to finding the deposit box, our hero learns the hard way that he has some remarkable combat skills and the ability to speak fluent German. When he opens the deposit box, we see a gun, some cash, and a lot of different passports. Each passport has a different identity, including the name Jason Bourne. To regain his memory and his true identity, Bourne must use all of his skills to evade assassins sent by the CIA.
Liam Neeson doesn’t always hit the target with his action films, but 2011’s Unknown is perhaps his best thriller besides Taken. When Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) is involved in a car accident while riding a cab in Berlin, he ends up in a coma for four days and wakes up suffering from amnesia. As Harris regains his memory, he finds that a man has stolen his identity and is now living his life. Even his wife (played by January Jones) says she doesn’t know him and is instead with this new mystery man. A former German secret police officer gives him a tip to help get his life back, but it won’t be easy, and it turns out it’s not just his own life he has to help save.
Director Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece won all the awards possible in 2019. Parasite involves the impoverished Kim family’s cunning plan to infiltrate the stunning house of the wealthy Park family. The Kims must forge documents and create fictional identities to win the Park family’s trust. At first, it seems like they’ve succeeded and will start living the good life and take over the house. But when one of the family makes a shocking discovery it threatens to unravel their web of lies. A brilliantly shot and genre-twisting film that uses an element of identity theft to tell a much larger tale of society, not just in South Korea but everywhere. “Parasite is a film that is worthy of all of its accolades.
An Honest Liar
A fascinating documentary from 2014 about the life of the famous magician turned pseudoscience debunker, James “The Amazing” Randi. On the surface of it, there’s not much to do with identity theft here, as we go through Randi’s illustrious career. That is until it is discovered while filming the documentary that Randi’s long-time partner, José Alvarez, is not who he claims to be. In fact, Alvarez is charged with identity theft for stealing a dead man’s identity. We learn his real name is Deyvi Peña and that he had fled his native Venezuela because, as a gay man, he faced persecution from the authorities. Randi, in his eighties at the time of filming, must now fight to keep Alvarez out of prison and stop him from being deported back to Venezuela.
Best Identity Theft Protection of 2021