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The Usual Suspects
Year:
1995
Country:
USA, Germany
Genre:
Crime, Thriller, Mystery
IMDB rating:
8.6
Director:
Bryan Singer
Stephen Baldwin as Michael McManus
Gabriel Byrne as Dean Keaton
Benicio Del Toro as Fred Fenster
Kevin Pollak as Todd Hockney
Kevin Spacey as Roger 'Verbal' Kint
Chazz Palminteri as Dave Kujan, US Customs
Pete Postlethwaite as Kobayashi
Giancarlo Esposito as Jack Baer, FBI
Suzy Amis as Edie Finneran
Dan Hedaya as Sgt. Jeffrey 'Jeff' Rabin
Paul Bartel as Smuggler
Carl Bressler as Saul Berg
Phillipe Simon as Fortier
Jack Shearer as Renault
Storyline: Following a truck hijack in New York, five conmen are arrested and brought together for questioning. As none of them is guilty, they plan a revenge operation against the police. The operation goes well, but then the influence of a legendary mastermind criminal called Keyser Söze is felt. It becomes clear that each one of them has wronged Söze at some point and must pay back now. The payback job leaves 27 men dead in a boat explosion, but the real question arises now: Who actually is Keyser Söze?
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Reviews
Intricate Storyline, complex but is made amazing by its ending.
To be honest I thought this film was good up until the last ten minutes, thats when it became a great film. The preleptic techniques used was amazing so that by the end you are just as fooled as the characters in the story.

Spacey's performance was excellent you really don't see the ending coming as a viewer it really comes right out of the blue, this film by the end is something so complex and really makes you think, without completely exhausting your mind it creates a paradox that I don't think anyone could figure out by the end.

Yes, you are left with a few questions at the end, but thats the beauty of this film, as the case just ends in the film, the police are left and so are you as a viewer, however they don't leave annoying small links it instead ties up the main storyline well. It is truly an ending that is mind numbing and something that other films should definitely try to replicate.

The story is so intricately written and portrayed that it is amazing to watch, and I noticed that the complexity of shots improves as the film progresses and the team venture into larger operations, yet even still Im left with the feeling that I could watch it again, and not see the ending coming again.

Only negatives were for me the police investigation which proved to be completely irrelevant to the storyline, and so can be seen as a hindrance, but the rest of the film makes up for this.

Intricate Storyline, complex but is made amazing by its ending.
2012-10-11
People actually like this?!
I almost feel sorry for anybody who likes this pretentious crap.

Mostly everyone who does like it only likes it for one reason...the big twist at the end. But anybody with half a brain that is at least partially functioning can see through the transparent and poorly-written script and predict the ending by the half-hour mark.

Spoilers ahead. Do yourself a favor and read them rather than wasting your time watching this mess of a film.

OK, the basic plot...cripple is being questioned by a police officer at the police station. The cripple tells the cop about past events that supposedly happened. The stories the cripple tells all seem to contradict one another, and the cop is getting very annoyed since he can't seem to find out the real identity of the man behind the previous events...a man named Keyser Sose.

But who is Keyser Sose? I'll tell you who just by explaining what any intelligent movie viewer would have been thinking the entire time, and that is this. Keyser Sose can only be one person, and that person is Verbal Kint. And the reason why he has to be Keyser Sose is because he is the only person that is involved in the story from start to finish. Nobody else is in the office but Verbal and the cop, and we know the cop didn't do it (although that would have been an actual good twist), so it must be Verbal. Can't be any of the other "suspects" because, what if it was? Then the story would move somewhere else and Verbal would no longer be involved.

Which brings me to another major flaw...why the hell is Verbal even there in the first place? Him going to the police station serves no purpose at all.

And as I patiently waited for the extremely transparent conclusion to be revealed as exactly what I predicted the whole time, I thought of one thing...Verbal is a cripple, so he can't possibly be Keyser Sose. But that was nothing more than a cheap red-herring used only to intentionally throw the viewer off in a different direction. Didn't work very well at all.

Why else is this movie total crap? The directing is cheap and thoughtless, acting is decent at best but even that's stretching it, cinematography looks ugly as hell, and I didn't care about any character in the whole movie at all. Didn't give a hell if anybody lived or died. All that paired with the fact that the entire movie was built around the idea of a surprise ending with no substance of itself makes this a piece of garbage.

Wait, I'm sorry. Comparing this movie to garbage would be insulting to things I throw away.
2009-02-16
Ending Not a Surprise
I was deeply disappointed by this movie. The alleged and hyped twist ending could not have been more predictable. As soon as the mystery character was introduced, I suspected who it would be. As the story unfolded, it was clearer and clearer that it could be only one person. In a bit of Sherlock Holmes logic, all the other options were eliminated and the final remaining choice had to be the correct choice.

We know from early on that the narrating character survives the opening sequence unscathed. That alone was a huge signal which spoils any chance of a surprise. The narrating character is revealed to be an excellent story teller, to be manipulative, cunning, and incapable of being truly frightened. Those are exactly the characteristics of the mystery character. Again, this made the ending obvious.

That the story is filled with 90% false information is disappointing. It's a fundamental violation of the compact between the storyteller and the audience. Perhaps if the twist were not so clearly communicated from the beginning, perhaps if there really was some thought required in getting to the ending, then perhaps it might have some shred of justification. Only perhaps, though -- In the end, almost certainly not.
2007-10-27
The Usual Suspects Certainly Defies Pigeon Holing or Labeling!
.......................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA and ORLANDO, FL

SUSPECTS larger-than-life allure results from a seamless blending of elements: Psychodrama, Action, Suspense and Mystery, all built on intricate storytelling, a dynamic screenplay and taut direction, by Bryan Singer. The aforementioned are all bolstered by credible in-depth character development, brought to life by an outstanding cast, who flesh out each role to chilling near perfection. (Kevin Spacey, seen here before most people would have recognized his name, received an Oscar for his "supporting" role!)

But let's not get sidetracked. More than anything else,"SUSPECTS" is about the unparalleled unsettling reaction you get from viewing it! From the first scene to the end credits, it gets a headlock on your psyche, while sending the pit of your stomach into endless free fall! The only way to illustrate this, without giving away any key elements of the film, is a detailed look at the opening scene....a peerless example of instant timeless classic film noir.

On a boat, docked in San Pedro Harbor, the dying sole-survivor of an apparently devastating bloodbath shootout painfully ignites a thin trail of gasoline. His obvious intention: Destroy EVERYTHING...himself included! From a deck higher up, an unseen someone pisses out the trail of flames. The shadowy figure walks down the stairs with an unhurried deliberation and saunters over to the agonizing man he has just saved. They exchange somewhat forced greetings and a few disjointed words of banter.

Without warning, the intruder firmly raises a pistol, his unblinking gaze reflected in eyes locked in contact with his own. Unhesitatingly, he fires two consecutive shots. A brief pause of contemplation ends when he casually lights a cigarette, strategically dropping his lighter to rekindle the liquid fuse, and then beats a hasty off-board retreat. What better way to introduce a character whose twisted iron resolve is so perverse, so deranged, that he saves a doomed man seconds before certain death, solely for the unmitigated pleasure derived from looking him squarely in the eye, his victim looking right back, while pulling the trigger himself.

Without uttering a syllable, his actions shout out, "I p**s on you and your puny existence!" His victim's final moments are thusly converted into a living/dying testimony, clearly demonstrating who it is that decides the particulars of when and how he will die! "SUSPECTS" has been severely critiqued by a vocal minority (to paraphrase another reviewer) for not knowing the difference between a plot twist and a non sequitur. With all due respect to the reviewer, who painstakingly highlighted the difference for us, perhaps a careful second viewing would shed some light on the source of this common confusion. After watching "SUSPECTS" four times making every effort to employ my most discerning eye, I am convinced the true genius of the movie hinges on this particular point!

Let me underscore my unequivocal recommendation of this film with a special note to those of you who avoid the Action or Suspense genre because of your distaste of the excessive violence that generally characterizes them. Well, THIS IS NO Robert Rodriguez FILM! A lot of the scenes are done in the "Old School" style, where the violence is kept off-screen. Although there is considerable TALK in "SUSPECTS" about some of the most dastardly deeds imaginable, virtually none of this is graphically portrayed. So, PLEASE, if you have not seen it yet, because of this reason, I urge you to make an exception in this case...

10* STARS*! GET IT AND SEE IT!......ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
2016-08-02
A true thriller!
I have seen this movie many times and yet it still astonishes me every time I watch it. Even though I know the ending I still feel myself being caught up in the plot. It is possibly one of the greatest scripts of all time. I can't remember another movie in which I was completely astonished at the finale. The cast gives a tremendous performance. Kevin Spacey gives one of his two best performances (the other being as John Doe in Se7en) in my opinion. That is probably why he was awarded Best Actor for this role. It was truly deserved. Gabriel Byrne also gives a great performance. It may be the best character Stephen Baldwin has ever played. In all, this is a must for any movie collector or enthusiast.
2001-02-14
Ridiculously Overrated
People find so much in good in this film. How? I've seen it several times trying to find something that pleases me but I haven't! I have seen masterpieces of cinema that I thought were brilliant and here, The Usual Suspects is on the top 20 of the best films for IMDb! What am I missing? The script was nothing spectacular! It was slightly above average as was the acting. Granted, Spacey's performance was good, but the supporting characters were nothing special at all. How did this film win two Oscars? People who found this to be a masterpiece should watch more films. If you haven't seen it and are wondering what all the fuss is about, it's nothing at all. This film is ridiculously overrated, most overrated film of the 90's, I'd dare say.
2000-12-18
Stupid gimmick stupid movie
This review contains mild spoilers so don't read it if you haven't seen the flick.

I hate these movies that just go and tack on this ending that no one could have predicted and it's supposed to be witty. It's stuff like Urban Legends and Scream where the killer is the last person you'd suspect because the reason behind it is retarded and mostly based on information that you don't have. Worse than that is stuff like Clue where there are a bunch of possible different endings to the movie that all work so that there's really no way to predict the ending.

This movie was even more idiotic than those because not only is there no certain way to come to the logical conclusion given the clues but the whole story we're presented with is a string of lies. Oh wow shocker! Well of course it's a shocker! It's like you hear the story of little red riding hood and then at the end your grandmother who's telling it to you says "You know what? I was that little girl and there was no wolf after all. I drugged my granny and stole all her cash then blamed it on the wolf." Holy crap! I could never have predicted that!

So this movie is worse than the farces that are Urban Legends, Scream, Clue and a majority of all the other movies that have ever been made.

How this guy also did the brilliant movie that is X-Men is a mystery to me.

1/10 and that's only because the scale doesn't have a zero
2002-11-24
Cheap ploy for a plot twist -- ruins movie for me.
The movie was simplistic and I'd already determined who I thought was the real bad guy. However the director and writers thought it would be okay to manipulate the story by basically lying to us. The fact is, without the theatric lies, the story is VERY predictable. And you will most likely have guessed the perpetrator the same as I did, but be left questioning your reasoning until the end when you realize that your reasoning was sound but that they showed us false scenes that weren't possibly real.

It's like a kids ploy. He shows you a picture of a tree and says, "Look, it's a tree." Then he comes back an hour later and shows you a picture of a truck and claims it was the same picture as the tree.

The plot holes in the movie stem from the ending itself. Without giving away the story line, we are told one thing and shown it as a flashback to be real. But then the rug is pulled out from under us only to discover that the flashbacks weren't real at all.

To me that sucks and ruins the movie. There's a trust that is established between an audience and the stage, and I feel this movie betrays that trust. How it got so high a rating while insulting the audience astounds and bewilders me.

I cry foul and refuse to give more than a 5 rating for it's overall movie appeal.
2008-08-18
Great thriller
The Usual Suspects is a movie I've been meaning to watch since forever. My dad actually owns the DVD, but sometimes you have to rent a movie to actually see it - because you've paid for it and it would suck if you'd basically lose money and not see it.

I didn't know much about The Usual Suspects. Story-wise I only knew that picture of the line up. I had avoided the spoilers almost perfectly. Just almost? I did know about the twist. I didn't know what it was, I just knew there was going to be a huge twist. Also I had seen that one Saturday Night Live sketch, which kind of gives something away. Even though I kind of knew something about the ending, I didn't know the story, and I didn't know how to get to the ending and what the ending would actually mean in the story, because a SNL sketch doesn't exactly explain the reference

It's hard to get in the right mood with the movie. There's no hook before the opening credits, you just have to wait until they are over or maybe fast forward through them. They offer nothing except John Ottman's music, which is of course decent, but not any different from typical movie music. But when the movie begun, it just begun. It was a bit fast, unclear. What is happening, who are these people, oh now we're at now... When they start questioning Verbal it becomes clearer. Still flashbacks are a hard way to tell the story - they are very quick and the audience can feel like something was left out, except I think this is exactly what McQuarrie might've been after.

But once you get used to the pace and the style of story telling, the movie turns into a very exciting thriller.

I guess the only problem in watching this movie over 20 years later is that it's now easier to guess the big twist. It might be because of a certain actor, it might be because this kind of twist is now more common, or it's just the evolution of cinema. But at one point while watching this movie it all clicked together. Of course the SNL sketch helped, and so did that one scene from the first Scary Movie - which is something I haven't seen in ages but it just came to me and I realised that's where it's from!

But figuring out a twist isn't exactly bad, you can also feel super victorious.

All in all, The Usual Suspects is a good thriller, a bit slow but the end makes it so much better. It has definitely aged well. But after seeing it once I don't feel like watching it again any time soon. It might be like some other movies with major twist: once you know it, you can watch it maybe once more to like see it from the new perspective, but that's it.
2017-02-05
A Modern Masterpiece...
DISCLAIMER: Not seen 'The Usual Suspects' yet? Then don't waste any time reading this! Rent it, buy it, borrow it, I don't mind, but watch it before you bother reading any further.

One of the main reasons that 'The Usual Suspects' leaves such a long-lasting impression on the viewer is that it takes advantage of the gullibility of the audience. For the first 100 minutes we are delivered an intriguing and complex story to which there seems no easy answer. When the final piece of the puzzle seems to be in place the entire film is turned on its head. This final revelation initially leaves you speechless and then shortly after the audience realises that they have fallen for a brilliantly inspired trick. The second great trick that this film plays on its audience is making us think that by watching it again we'll be able to understand slightly better what was really going on. The truth is that the more you try to make sense of it, the more confusing it becomes. It's probably best not to try to look for any concrete answers and just accept that we fell for the filmmaker's tricks. The success of the film is mainly thanks to the sense of satisfaction the audience is left with at the end of the film. I think that people love the idea of a story when you're not sure who you can really trust, along with the realisation that the film's most shady characters are the filmmakers themselves.

Aside from the twist the film is also unique in the way the narrative is presented. The majority of the story is told as a series of flashbacks by crippled con artist Verbal Kint (a performance which deservedly won Kevin Spacey his first Oscar). The film's other Oscar went to screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (who also directed 'The Way of the Gun' (2000)) for his brilliantly constructed screenplay. It's a testament to the director, Bryan Singer that he was able to combine all these elements and turn them into something which is nothing short of a modern masterpiece. His moody and stylish direction help to bring the film together and perfectly complement the film's dark tone. A mention should also go to John Ottman for his skilful editing and amazing score.

The Usual Suspects is more than just a film with a clever ending. It revealed an awful lot about film audiences and showed us that their expectations can be used against them. It is also a film about story telling and the importance of myth. I think that one of the most valuable lessons that filmmakers can learn from ‘The Usual Suspects' is that the more interesting and intriguing your story is the more your audience will believe.

The Usual Suspects was certainly not the first film to contain twist ending (the twist ending became one of Alfred Hitchcock's trademarks) and was certainly not the last ('The Sixth Sense' (1999) also used this technique effectively but left more subtle clues for the audience to pick up on their repeated viewings). Despite this 'The Usual Suspects' remains one of the most innovative and memorable crime thrillers of the nineties.
2001-09-24
See Also
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