Today, I’m talking about a 1995 movie called THE NET, a super mystery-thriller that I’ve watched a few times, and each time, I cringe to think about what I’d do if this happened to me. Having your identity stolen takes things to a whole new level.
The movie opens with Angela Bennett as a computer expert. This young and beautiful analyst is never far from a computer and modem. The only activity she has outside of computers is visiting her mother in a nursing home who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
A friend, whom she's only spoken to over the Internet or phone named Dale Hessman, has sent her a program with a weird glitch for her to de-bug. He knows he’s got something pretty important and begs to meet her the next morning before she leaves on vacation. She reluctantly agrees, only he never shows, he’s been killed in a plane crash.
At the time, Angela doesn’t realize what she has and leaves for vacation. It isn’t until later that she discovers secret information on the disk, or that the glitch in his program is so powerful, it has the ability to tamper with Wall Street, air-traffic control and the Federal Government.
While on the beach soaking up rays of sunshine, she meets Jack Devlin. He claims to be a computer geek too. He invites her for a drink. On their way to the bar, her purse is stolen with all her identification. She doesn’t know it yet, but this is when her life becomes a living hell when the powers that be come after her and steal her identity.
After a tryst on Jack’s yacht, he goes below to get another bottle of wine. While he’s gone, Angela begins to get dressed and uses Jack’s suit jacket sitting on the seat to keep warm. That’s when she finds a gun in his pocket. Fully clothed, she’s sitting upright with the gun in her hands when he returns. She asks about the gun and wants to know why he’s carrying it. He tries to take it away from her just as she tosses it into the water. They struggle and she grabs the bottle of wine and slams him over the head and knocks him out cold. Panicked, she runs to radio US Coast Guards for help but the radio isn’t working. She runs below and rummages through a drawer looking for keys and that’s when all the pieces of the puzzle fit together because she finds her diskette and knows Devlin was responsible for her purse snatching. She takes the diskette and his wallet for money and manages to get into the lifeboat attached to the yacht. She’s having trouble starting the engine when she notices he’s come out of his stupor. He tries to stop her, but she ultimately gets away.
The scene cuts away to the hotel. She’s going back to her room-presumably to pack, but the desk clerk tells her Angela Bennett has checked out. After much back and forth, she can’t produce identification, and ultimately gives up only to seek the help from the US Embassy for a temporary Visa. In the meantime, she’s trying to make a phone call and the number has been disconnected. An agent shows up calling out Ruth Marx’s name. When she sees Angela, she asks if she’s the woman trying to get a temporary US Visa. When she hands the registration paper for her to sign, Angela realizes it’s not her name. The agent tells her she’ll have to wait, but Angela realizes she won’t be able to get out of there anytime soon unless she pretends to be this Ruth Marx—she signs it.
Now the scene cuts to the airport parking lot where she’d parked her car before leaving, but her car is gone. She takes a taxi to her home and there’s a for sale sign on the front lawn. The door is unlocked because the agent is having an open house. The house has been completely stripped of her belongings. This is when she realizes this whole thing is much bigger than she thought. The realtor calls the police who ask for her Visa. When they see Ruth’s name instead of hers, despite her insistence as to who she is, they check the information in the database and find that Ruth Marx has several outstanding warrants and offenses. They arrest her. She calls her mother, who has Alzheimer’s hoping Mom is having a lucid moment so she can identify her as her daughter. It doesn’t happen and at this point, her fingerprints, Social Security number and picture ID have all been transferred to this Ruth Marx person.
After many failed attempts, Angela finally figures out how to end this fiasco and exposes the people by going to a computer show and using a vacant computer and making sure every government agency knows exactly what this program is about. In the end, Jack kills Ruth thinking it’s Angela, and Angela pushes Jack off a catwalk, and it’s never determined that she had anything to do with it. In the final scene, we see Angela back in her home, her mother, who still doesn’t know she’s her daughter, is planting flowers in front of the house and all is well in computer land.
This is a fast-paced movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you rooting for Angela Bennett to reclaim her identity.
If you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend you rent it because this type of thing can happen to anyone of us.
Stay safe and be careful about what you post on the various networking sites.
Thanks for stopping by.