The Usual Suspects

Five Criminals. One Line Up. No Coincidence.

Drama Crime Thriller
106 min     8.2     1995     USA

Overview

Held in an L.A. interrogation room, Verbal Kint attempts to convince the feds that a mythic crime lord, Keyser Soze, not only exists, but was also responsible for drawing him and his four partners into a multi-million dollar heist that ended with an explosion in San Pedro harbor – leaving few survivors. Verbal lures his interrogators with an incredible story of the crime lord's almost supernatural prowess.

Reviews

Andres Gomez wrote:
Great movie with superb performance from Kevin Spacey, well accompanied with the rest of the cast.
John Chard wrote:
Keaton always said, "I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of him." Well I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Soze. The Usual Suspects is directed by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie. It stars Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Kevin Pollack, Stephen Baldwin, Benicio Del Toro, Chazz Palminteri, Pete Postlethwaite, Giancarlo Esposito and Dan Hedaya. Music is by John Ottman and cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel. Held in an L.A. interrogation room, Verbal Kint (Spacey) attempts to convince the feds that a mythic crime lord, Keyser Soze, not only exists, but was also responsible for drawing him and his four partners into a multi-million dollar heist that ended with an explosion in San Pedro harbor – leaving few survivors. It sort of sidled into movie theatres in 1995 with no fanfare or heralded notices. Yet it wasn't long before word of mouth got around that The Usual Suspects might actually be the must see film of the year. Fledgeling director and writer - Singer and McQuarrie - produce a masterclass of crime/mystery/noir plotting in a whirl of intricate plot shifts and deft sleights of hand. The core essence of the story is simple, just who is Keyser Soze? His reputation is one of utter fear, he may even be the devil himself. What transpires throughout the film is a number of scenes told in flashback form and narrated by Kint as the cops put the heat on him. We are introduced to the five criminals who make up the suspects of the title, where dialogue pings with machismo laced humour. The addition of Postlethwaite's Kobayashi character, one of Soze's harbinger's of doom, further ups the ante of the story's deliciously corkscrew intrigue. It all builds to a climax that - has you pondering just what you have watched previously. Yet here's the key as to why the pic still holds up on repeat viewings, we have been outsmarted, for as we dive in and enjoy the across the board great perfs, we have been privy to something that will stand the test of time for the genre it sits in. The repeat viewings factor still, some decades later, is as strong as ever. The advent of time and home format releases etc have only improved the pic's own mythical status. Behind the scenes egos and dislikes on set only add further strength to the characterisations, as does one main man thinking he himself must be Soze when in fact he was way off. There's a trail of clues in the film that will reveal who Soze is - who knew!? - and on it goes. The Usual Suspects is the filmic gift that keeps on giving. 10/10

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