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The Usual Suspects

A 1995 American neo-noir film starring Kevin Spacey directed by Bryan Singer

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Will the real Keyser Soze please stand up?

  • Sep 23, 2003
This is one of only very few films I have seen in recent years which require total attention from beginning to end. Even then, it must be seen at least once more to gain a sense of its multiple meanings and then again at least several more times to appreciate its complexity and ambiguity. The viewer's patience is abundantly rewarded with thought-provoking entertainment and yet, the question persists: "What am I missing?" Under Brian Singer's crisp direction, all of the cast's performances are first-rate. Kevin Spacey (as Roger Kint, aptly nicknamed "Verbal" because he says so much and yet....) received an Academy Award for his performance. Were an Academy Award also given for best ensemble, he and others in the cast would have received it.

At one point, Kint suggests that "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." That comment offers what I consider to be a useful perspective on the film because so much of what happens (or seems to happen) is unconvincing. I began to wonder, which (if any) of the characters can I trust? Was there really a mobster named Keyser Soze? If so, so what? With especially effective use of flashbacks in coordination with Kint's extended interrogation by NYPD detective Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri), Singer seems to be guiding us to one conclusion...only to have another occur, one which left me asking "Has all this been a dream? Or is it a practical joke? What am I to believe?" Recalling Kint's comment after I saw The Usual Suspects for the first time, I was almost convinced that Singer's "greatest trick" was that his film "didn't exist." Of course it does...and becomes more and less clear every time I see it. Hence this film's elusive but compelling appeal, one which I, at least, am unable to explain in a brief commentary such as this.

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More The Usual Suspects reviews
Quick Tip by . October 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The only negative thing about it is that when I watched it a second time--shortly after the first--it's actually boring. But if you wait 10 years to see it again, then it's back to being good again :)
Quick Tip by . September 19, 2010
One of the first post modern movies of my time that assumed the intelligence of the audience. I watched it, put my mind back together, and played it again. I still watch it everytime it is on, and find new surprises that mystify and delight. Excellent ensemble, especially Gabriel Byrne and Kevin Spacey.
review by . December 09, 2008
Despite a decent cast of characters, and "Usual Suspects" title, the movie is anything but usual. The movie begins as what seems to be a very low-budget, made-for-TV movie. Most of it takes place as dialogue between Kevin Spacey's character, Verbal Kint, and U.S. Customs Agent David Kujan, played by Chazz Palminteri. Kujan interrogates Kint about a $91 million heist that Kint and four other men planned. Kint weaves a story of how the 5 men had originally met and what happened on the night of the …
review by . August 22, 2008
Great cast, plot and acting.  I especially like Benicio's work as I could barely understand much of what he was saying...but he said it with style.  Even the Baldwin brother played a convincing character.  Great twists and turns and the ending doesn't disappoint.  A must see.
review by . April 01, 2008
First time i saw this movie, I thought it was one of those made for TNT movies.  After watching it, It's on my list of best movies of all time.  It'll have you guessing from the beginning til the end who is "Kaiser Soze".  If you love the "guess who did it" type of movies then you won't go wrong with this movie.
review by . April 01, 2008
Usual Suspects 1 sheet movie poster
I remember seeing this movie in the theater when it first came out.  There wasn't much buzz about it, and I went to the theater not even knowing what I was going to see.  I think the fact that I had no preconceptions about this film, really enhanced my movie-going experience.    This movie has a great little twist at the end, and I still appreciate it even after I've seen it a handful of times.  Just writing this, makes me want to go see it again.    This …
review by . June 01, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: KEVIN SPACEY! and one strange story     Cons: 5 maybe 6 cons were involved in this movie     The Bottom Line: _________________        “One cannot be betrayed if one has no people.” [1]       I’m adopting a buddy for the write-off, the luscious Mimi369, who’s buddy dropped out. She selected the movie, I came along for the ride.      The Usual Suspects is the definitive …
review by . October 21, 2001
posted in Movie Hype
Given the strength of the cast, The Usual Suspects was a surprisingly down-beat and unambitious film. It was certainly watchable, but is a bit pointless - in announcing that the subject of proceedings is uncovering the identity of the mysterious Keyser Soze, it telegraphs the fact that There Will Be A Twist In The Ending And Keyser Will Turn Out To Be Someone You Didn't Expect (if there isn't, the film will just be plain dull), and unfortunately the twist is guessable after about three quarters …
About the reviewer
Robert Morris ()
Ranked #74
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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Plot Summary: When a truck loaded with stripped gun parts is hijacked outside of Queens, five notorious thieves become overnight guests of the NYPD, but that's all they need to hatch a plan that brings them to Los Angeles for the ultimate take, $91 million in hard cash. Roger "Verbal" Kint, an apparent victim of cerebral palsy yet an accomplished con man, soon falls under the persuasive powers of U.S. Customs Special Agent David Kujan, who's hot on their trail. Kint weaves a tale that begins six weeks ago, back at the police shake-down in New York. Assembled among the professional felons are hardware specialist Todd Hockney, entry man Michael McManus and Dean Keaton, an ex-cop whose hijacking and smuggling exploits have incurred Kujan's wrath. Customs has been building a case on Keaton for three years, and despite Kint's claim that Keaton is dead, Kujan looks to squeeze Kint until he gets his man. In a surprise plot twist, a pitiable con man is being outwitted by an eager Fed. Or is he?
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