1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
Not bad, but not half as clever as it's rumoured to be!, April 30 2004
"The Usual Suspects" is perfectly watchable, but far from great. It probably didn't help that I watched this in 2004, well past all the breathless hoopla and the awards. It probably also doesn't help that I'm not a big Kevin Spacey fan-he is a bit histrionic for my taste. Gabrile Bryne was excellent in this movie though, as was Stephen Baldwin. The plot moves reasonably fast, but is ultimately unsatisfactory. Everyone's heard of the plot by now: 5 random guys (the "usual suspects') are brought in for questioning on a crime, then get together to plot a new crime. Only one-Spacey-survives at the end and tells his tale of a super bad guy who engineered all of it. The problem with the plot is that it has a lot of holes in it, isn't as clever as it purports to be, and ultimately fails to make sufficient sense. The thing with having a twist at the end is that the whole movie still needs to make perfect sense upon reviewing, which in my opinion, this movie failed to do! The motives of the characters (especially Soze) were far from clear---does a mastermind of that sort need these 2 bit criminals to help him along? How could he ensure that he wouldn't get caught up in it at the end? How does the Steve Baldwin character come up with the plot in the first place? How do the cops even get their hands on Soze if he's so good? Wasn't there a better, less elaborate way for him to off the witness?, etc. etc. There are just way too many questions...and the plot ultimately proves to be dull and contrived. Some of the scenes are just too self-important and not clever enough by half (much in the way that "The Da Vinci Code" is not clever enough, to use a recent analogy!). The only redeeming factors are an engaging cast and a quick (if rambling and somewhat pointless) plot. This isn't a bad movie but it doesn't live upto the hype. If you really want a well-crafted movie with a big surprise at the end, watch "The Sixth Sense". If you want a clever movie that makes you work to put everything together, watch "Memento".