Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Short Review: The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer, 1995)

The Usual Suspects is one of the most entertaining thrillers ever made. A first-rate cast deliver memorable performances in this academy-award winning script by Christopher McQuarrie. Kevin Spacey (in his oscar-winning performance as Verbal Kint) is simply outstanding, but Stephen Baldwin as McManus, Gabriel Byrne as Keaton, Kevin Pollack as Hockney and a very young Benicio Del Toro as Fenster are all perfectly cast. From its opening frame, this is a film that keeps you glued to the screen.

After a truck full of gun parts is hijacked, five career criminals are summoned for an unlikely line-up. They use this opportunity to pool their collective expertise to pull a few jobs. Soon enough they are approached by a representative of feared gang lord Keyser Soze, and persuaded into heisting a boat carrying $91 Million dollars worth of cocaine to re-pay their debt from previous heists to him. As expected, not all goes to plan, and a lone survivor (Kint), recounts the story to Customs Special Agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri).

Most of the events are told in flashback as recounted by Kint. The result is a film that it is brilliantly imaginative, wildly complex, brutally shocking, wickedly funny and consistently leaves you on the edge of your seat. The action sequences at the conclusion are among the best you will witness and the final revelation will remain with you for days. This was the first film I watched in its entirety twice in the same day. It demands multiple viewings. Bryan Singer's direction is impressive and made him one of the most promising young directors at the time. Unfortunately, he has failed to deliver a film of such skill since then. Every decision, right down to the superb score, is perfect. The Usual Suspects is a film I strongly recommend to everyone I know.

My Rating: 5 Stars


  1. I can definitely see how Singer got handed the X-Men job after this film. His ability to juggle an ensemble cast is excellent, and it works very well here. Such a good story and so well told, if only more mystery/thrillers were this good.

  2. Have you ever read the Ebert review for this movie? It's worth a read, if only because it's rare to see a reviewer get a movie so wrong.

  3. I haven't but ill be sure to check it out. You're saying that Ebert gets it wrong, right?