The Usual Suspects
Release Year: 1995
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Pollak, Stephen Baldwin, Chazz Palminteri, Pete Postlethwaite, Suzy Amis, Giancarlo Esposito, Dan Hedaya
Rating: Won 2 Oscars: Best Supporting Actor (Kevin Spacey), Best Original Screenplay. Nominated for 1 Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actor (Kevin Spacey). Won 2 Saturn Awards: Best Action/Adventure Film, Best Music. Nominated for 1 Saturn Award: Best Director.
Five criminals meet in a seemingly random police line-up and begin to work together. Six weeks later there is a bloody gun fight on a boat that leaves many dead leaving one sole survivor to tell the twisty events leading up to it.
The Usual Suspects put both Kevin Spacey (A Time to Kill, 1996) and Bryan Singer (X-Men, 2000) on the map and is a typically well-crafted 1990’s thriller with a famous plot twist. It is also the sort of film that people seem to either love or loathe. It is certainly the sort of film that requires careful consideration of one’s expectations. The central mystery of who the enigmatic Keyser Söze together with its unorthodox narrative structure makes the film interesting to watch and also rewatch. The work in front of and behind the camera is rock solid, particularly Spacey’s Oscar winning performance is noteworthy. It is in some ways like a less violent and more conversional Pulp Fiction (1994). It is very good but mostly appeals to those with a fondness for the twisty thrillers centered around criminals that they seem to have done so well in the 1990s.
The iconic line-up scene was meant to be a serious scene but after a long day of shooting the actors found it hard to keep a straight face and in the end director Bryan Singer decided to use the funniest takes.
Picture Copyright: 20th Century Fox