Sunday, September 15, 2013

901. The Usual Suspects (1995)

Running Time: 106 minutes
Directed By: Bryan Singer
Written By: Christopher McQuarrie
Main Cast: Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Benicio del Toro
Click here to view the trailer


Taking a little break from the "Scorsese Week" festivities, to jump into reverse chronology mode again, picking up with the movie that made Bryan Singer a household name - "The Usual Suspects".

Let's see here...I suppose you people want a plot synopsis or something. Allright then. The film gets going when a truck full of guns is knocked off and five of the "usual suspects" are rounded up and hauled in for questioning. Among the five men, you've got Todd Hockney (Pollak), Michael McManus (Baldwin), his partner Fenster (del Toro), a cripple Verbal Kint (Spacey) and bad cop gone clean Dean Keaton (Byrne). As the five men sit in a prison cell, awaiting their release, they get to talking and one thing leads to another and the five men form a crew, with their first mission set in stone: get back at the police. They do this by stirring up trouble for the precinct, by uncovering "New York's Finest Taxi Service" - a crooked cop operation where members of the police escort high profile criminals around the city, in exchange for a payoff. They go on to commit another crime, before being put in touch with a lawyer named Kobayashi, a man who works directly for mystery man Keyser Soze  - a modern myth in the criminal underworld. The five know that if they cross Keyser Soze and that if he does exist, they won't live to tell about it. It all leads to a big blow up at the pier, involving some dope smugglers, a lot of cash, a lot of criminals, Keyser Soze and the usual suspects.


You know, this is probably the fifth or sixth time I've actually seen "The Usual Suspects" and despite liking it well enough, I don't think I ever need or want to see it again. It's just not one of those movies that lends itself to repeated viewings, for me anyway and no, it's not because of the twist ending. It's just something that I'll admit is very good, but something that I'm almost sick of seeing at this point, if that makes any sense. I mean, what can I say that hasn't been said about this movie. It seems that everybody likes it, everybody's seen it and whether they've seen it or not, I think everybody knows that Kevin Spacey is Keyser Soze. The cat's out of the bag and it's one of those endings that isn't a secret anymore (kind of like how EVERYONE knows that Bruce Willis is dead in "The Sixth Sense").

Plot holes? Well, I can't spot any off hand, but I'm almost sure there's a few in there. But, guess what? It doesn't matter if there's plot holes, because the ending suggests that EVERYTHING we've just watched has been pretty much invented by Spacey's Kint. I mean, I'm right here, right? The entire movie is just a story as told by Verbal Kint a..k.a. Keyser Soze? That's kind of cool, but in a way it's also kind of irritating to realize that there is no ultimate solution and that there really isn't a puzzle, because it was just a story. Sure, I guess you could argue that every movie is just a story, but you know what I mean.

Here I am bashing "The Usual Suspects", saying I never want to see it again and saying that it's pointless, when I'm fully prepared to give it good points in the rating below. The film isn't bad, I promise and when you forget about the puzzle aspect of it, it's actually a pretty decent little crime caper movie. In fact, maybe that's it - maybe the part that really bugs me about the movie is that they ruined a perfectly good crime picture, with a dirty, corrupt atmosphere by surrounding it in all this mystery and Keyser Soze crap. Hmm something to think about. A good movie though, that I'm sure most will take to. Oh, who am I kidding; most already have taken to it.

RATING: 7/10  Like I said, not bad, but I have to say that this was my final viewing and I've formed a definitive opinion here.


September 15, 2013  3:38pm



    You Know the First Time I watched this film I felt kinda cheated, because I felt the twist was terrible, and all I had ever heard about the film was that it has this AMAZING twist.

    In hindsight this is really simultaneously the greatest and worst twist ever made. Worst, in that it is super lazy, and a tremendous cop out. Greatest in that it takes care of all plot holes. Any argument you can ever make about a plot hole, can simply be explained as further fabrications in Klint's story.

    What's often overlooked in this movie I find, is just how tense the film actually is. Very good job by Bryan Singer, pity his next best film is Superman Returns (seriously...).

    Also Steven Baldwin.

    1. You know there's a lot of talent in there too. I like Kevin Pollak, I think Byrne has some chops, Spacey of course and del Toro is good too. But yeah, I agree with you. I believe I also felt kinda cheated.


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