on February 22, 2003
One of my favorite films of all times, The Usual Suspects is an exeptionally strong ensemble cast work. In particular Gabriel Byrne's cynical and beaten down reformed criminal gone bad role is played so ernestly that you forget you are watching a film. Kevin Spacey's Verbal Gint character is terrific to watch as well. Benicio del Toro steals scenes with his bizzare choice of character in an otherwise nothing role. Even Steven Baldwin turns in a good performance as does Kevin Pollack in a somewhat different role than he usually plays.
All the acting is terrific and more importantly, the script is nearly flawless as is the direction. The plot moves along in it's multi-threaded fashion while keeping viewers entertained and involved enough to pay attention.
The ending will either annoy or delight you depending on how you view films. I loved it and on second viewing the forshadowing of events are right in front of you like a good murder mystery although The Usual Suspects is much more than a mystery film or buddy flick or crime caper film while being a little bit of each.
It's great to see a film that isn't high budget and relies on acting and a good script to move the film along. Although embraced by hollywood this is as independent as you will find in it's easy tone and believable characters.
There is simply nothing worth complaining about. Get this DVD, it's additonal content is a lot of fun to watch and helps understanding The Usuual Suspects as more than a film but a project and labor of love that works on all fronts.
on November 21, 2007
Ah, the Usual Suspects. My personal favorite movie of all time. Don't let my bias be a fool. Perhaps it's not THE best movie ever, but it's one that I never get tired of.
If you like flash and bikinis and breath-taking camera angles, you won't find them here. Usual Suspects is not an "epic," and it doesn't pretend to be. It's a modestly-budgeted piece by a fresh director (who later went on to do the X-Men movies, a FAR departure).
A great, gritty script, beautifully-acted characters, and what many have called the greatest movie ending of all time, are some of the shining qualities that make the Usual Suspects an object worthy of praise above its humble-looking shell.
The casting is very unusual but somehow fits perfectly. Gabriel Byrne is convincing as the ex-con trying to build a new life when he gets drawn back into his old life. Stephen Baldwin has the role of his career as the smart-mouthed and cocky professional. Kevin Pollak takes a big departure from his usual good comedy self to take a more dramatic role. Benicio del Toro literally takes a one-dimensional character with absolutely nothing in the script to give him character, and he fleshes it out with brilliant mannerisms and memorable mumbling to show incredible acting creativity. Kevin Spacey as we know him was born from this movie. His manners and fast-talking yet shy gimp nature are a treat to listen to throughout the flick.
Without giving away the plot, the best and most genius parts of the movie are the subtleties. After you see the ending, and the truth hits you like a ton of bricks, you have to watch it again. On the second time through, you'll jump up and point at the screen whenever you spot a clue you missed the first time. It's even possible to watch the movie multiple times and see something new with every viewing. It's that attention to detail that make the deceptively innocent-looking Usual Suspects one of the greatest movies of all time.
on January 28, 2009
What can I say about 'The Usual Suspects' that hasn't already been said? The star-heavy cast is excellent, the story is gripping and intricate and unlike other "surprise ending" tales, this one is well worth watching again.
The video and audio quality is very good on this Blu-ray version.
However, the disc is completely lacking in extras. Not even so much as a directors commentary. If the studio had actually put some effort into this release (commentary, behind the scenes, discussion with the writer, etc.) , I could easily see it getting a 5-star review - the movie is good enough to deserve that kind of effort.
on February 27, 2015
IN a 3 pack of Blue Rays I bought 3 moues I LUV and stand the test of time:
1) I, Robot [Superb Sci Fi Adventure Action so Well done, 2) The Usual Suspects [absolutely Brilliant writing with non stop story line intriguing and amazing yet logical twists & turns], and 3) Max Payne [ a Fascinating film I could only see on my Small Samsung Phone Screen taht I bgt fir Samsung & their not defunct 1st gambit into Video movie D/Ls but could only be played on the darn phone!) and ALL # were jsut over $25 for FREE Shipping then the AMAZON SPECIAL DU JOUR OF $10 OFF from their offering of over ? 4 pages OF FILMS IF YOU BOUGHT 3 super Hi Def. Blue-Rays totaling, delivered only slightly over $18.. Great Films - Great Score. OFF STORY THO: I was in a Dollar Store in THE WEST ISLAND of MTL - with a buddy for a Lunch break and fast specific shopping foray and found 2 movies in their bin They were Blue Rays for only $3.00 each - Small format cases too ( EXACTLY like the cases from Amazon.ca's Blue Rays I received the next day!) Both Amazons and the Dollarma ¿ Store Blue-Rays were just about IDENTICAL - Interesting.... small Blue cases.. VERY Interesting! ;)
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on September 20, 2012
This was a very interesting story right from the word go. I had to leave part way through and found myself already thinking about where it was going and couldn't wait to get back to it. I haven't had this much anticipation about a movie in a while.
I suppose it must be hard to make a crime show without violence, coarse language or gore but by and large this one did rest on it's storytelling merrits without overdoing it in these areas. But you wouldn't show this to a younger audience. But for this reason alone I had to give it a 4 star. I think a good crime yarn can have these negative aspects absent. Still like I say it was pretty tame in this department and stood very well on the story alone, and when there was this aspect it fit and wasn't gratuitous.. Frankly this aspect was virtualy a non factor, exept in the intrinsic nature of crime itself.
That said I found this a gripping yarn that was intreaguing and interesting the entire show. I can't wait to watch it again, but don't want to watch it too soon as the way it unfolded was just easy enough to follow, but quick enough to keep you one your toes trying to keep up...and wonder if your were following it as good as you needed to. I can't wait to watch it again knowing what is revealed at the end.
I suspect upon closer examimnation it's feasability might fall apart. Could the villain really be who he was, or does the story break apart upon closer examination as all too often does in this kind of intricate yarn. But the ending and the "opening of the eyes" was pretty kool. I consider this a keeper and will watch it again sometime.
on September 7, 2006
"Round up the usual suspects." And so they do -- and ending up in the lineup are career criminals Michael McManus, Fred Fenster and Todd Hockney (Stephen Baldwin, Benicio del Toro and Kevin Pollack), ex-cop gone bad gone good again Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne) and small-time con man Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey).
Wait a minute ... five criminals in one lineup? There's something wrong here, right? Right ...
In "The Usual Suspects," not only every line but every gesture, every facial expression and every camera cut counts. Even if you distrust the story being told, you can't exactly pin down everything that's wrong with it. The plot unfolds through the tale extracted from Kint, one of two survivors of a massacre and subsequent explosion on a boat docked in San Pedro Harbor, by U.S. Customs agent David Kujan (Chazz Palminteri). And at the same time as Kint is spinning his yarn, in a nearby hospital the other survivor (badly injured and fresh out of a coma) helps a police sketch artist draw a picture of the mastermind behind the scheme -- "the devil," Keyser Söze.
You can watch this movie countless times, and you will still discover new subtleties every single time. Not only will you find that it still makes sense after the story line has been unraveled at the end (which therefore is a plot twist, not a non-sequitur). You'll also discover nuance upon nuance in Kevin Spacey's incredible performance. You'll see that tiny apologetic grin on Todd Hockney's face as attorney Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite) lists a weapons truck heist -- the very act which brought them together in the initial lineup, and which they have all come to believe to have been a trumped-up charge - as Hockney's latest sin against Keyser Söze, now forming part of the debt to be repaid by participating in the suicide mission in San Pedro Harbor. And at some point you'll also have figured out all of Fenster's lines (not being a native English speaker, I am relieved to find that I wasn't the only one struggling with them at first) ... although the mumbling is of course part of his character, and is as excellently delivered as every other aspect of Benicio del Toro's acting, his lines are so funny and to the point you almost wish he'd speak more clearly so you wouldn't miss half his punch lines the first time around.
Among a cast of tremendous actors (to name just two, Gabriel Byrne in one of his best performances and Benicio del Toro, deserving much more than just an "also starring" mentioning in the opening credits), Kevin Spacey's star shines brightest. To this day it is a mystery to me how he came to be awarded the Academy Award for Best *Supporting* Actor -- the only things the man supports (in fact carries, almost single-handedly) in this movie are Bryan Singer's directing and Christopher McQuarrie's screenplay, and that alone makes him the movie's lead character. But regardless of its title, the award was more than justified, and so was the one for McQuarrie's screenplay. With infinite trust in the audience's ability to pick up on little gestures, looks and inflections of his voice, Kevin Spacey displays all the many aspects of his character at the same time; and even the tenth time around, his performance still holds as true as the first time you watch the movie. Almost expressionless he tells his tale, always seeming to give away just about as much as he has to, and only raising his voice for a pointed (and exquisitely timed) expletive upon first being confronted with the name Keyser Söze, and for a wailing "Why me??" as agent Kujan tries to convince him that his own archenemy, Keaton, has been behind their failed enterprise all along and purposely let him (Kint) live to tell their story.
This is one of those movies which have you quote their many memorable one-liners forever -- not just the one about "the devil's greatest trick." To the extent that it cites other works, those citations pay homage, they don't merely copy -- right down to the name of the movie's production company (Blue Parrot/Bad Hat); like the title containing a reference to "Casablanca," the prototype of all films noir (or those made in Hollywood at least). It is one of the best modern examples of the genre and has long since become a cult classic -- it's a must in every decent collection.
Christopher McQuarrie's Academy Award winning, original screenplay, coupled with Bryan Singer's masterful direction of a stellar cast, makes for a complex and absorbing film. Told in flashback, the film recounts how five individuals on the wrong side of the law hook up to steal a multi-million dollar cache of cocaine from a docked vessel.
Led by former Los Angeles detective turned bad guy, Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey), Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Todd Hockey ((Kevin Pollack), and Fred Fenster (Benicio Del Toro), proceed to their rendevous point and begin executing their plan of action. Their foray into this million dollar drug heist turns bad almost immediately. Something or someone is afoot who does not want them to succeed, and who seems to know their every move.
The story is told in flashback by "Verbal" Kint, a club footed, crestfallen, soft spoken, unlikely looking criminal. He recounts the details of the doomed heist to hardnosed Detective, David Kujan (Chazz Palmentieri), building his story around an almost mythic, Hungarian crime lord named Keyser Soze. As "Verbal" details what happened, the viewer is mesmerized by his compelling narrative of how he and his partners in crime were inveigled into attempting this daring heist, which ultimately led to the disastrous events that culminated on the ship. It seems that their heist was probably destined to be doomed from the start, as another agenda may have been paramount to theirs.
Kevin Spacey won a 1995 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his low key, ingratiating portrayal of "Verbal" Kint. Gabriel Byrne also gives a compelling performance as the cop who ended on the wrong side of the law. The rest of the cast also give stellar performances, with the exception of Benicio Del Toro, who gives an odd, marble mouthed performance. Notwithstanding this, the film is really a splendid tour de force that is sure to captivate the viewer. Who is the mythic Keyser Soze? Watch the film and find out.
on June 30, 2004
One of the best movies of the 1990s, The Usual Suspects startles and surprises. A fast-paced story told by a wimpy, cripple felon Roger "Verbal" Kint presents a new take on evil, a new face of violence and murder.
"You think you can catch Keyser Soze?" asks Verbal of Special Agent Kujan. "You think a guy like that comes this close to getting caught, and sticks his head out? If he comes up for anything it'll be to get rid of me. After that... my guess is you'll never hear from him again." Of course, he also says things like "Back when I was in barbershop quartet in Skokie Illinois" and "Back when I was picking beans in Guatemala, we used to make fresh coffee, right off the trees I mean." And a really good one (grimacing and teary-eyed): "Why me? I am stupid, I am a cripple. Why me?"
Nietzsche said: "Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself."
Throwing someone off the sent, and doing this consciously or subconsciously, is nothing new. Things are not always how they appear or how they sound. Agent Kujan has preconceived notions about Keaton, about Verbal, and about himself. Because of these, he cannot see clearly. He also has his back turned to the bulletin board until the very end of the film.
Great script, great acting, great movie.
on May 3, 2004
The Usual Suspects, is, in my mind, one of the most fantastic pieces of film-making ever to grace our screens. That a group of people can come up with a piece of fiction that is so excellent in every way, from start to finish, is frightening. Who knows, maybe this film has no superior.
A lot is made of the film's ending. Not for a moment am I going to let slip what exactly that is. I would never deny another film lover the sheer sense of amazement that ran through my body when the film reached its climax. While not the film's only strong point; this is a masterpiece ALL the way through, the ending will blow you away.
The cast is, in a word, flawless. Kevin Spacey has, as far as I am concerned, never been better. He turns in a performance that is so moving and outstanding that he should have got three Oscars. But he is not alone. Byrne is fantastic, Del Toro adds continental flair, and Postlethwaite is disturbingly dark, yet calculated.
By all means watch this film, and observe its strong points, from Bryan Singer's masterful direction to the equally pleasing musical score. Prepare yourself for a rollercoaster ride and the best ending EVER in a film made anywhere in the world. I mean that. Just who is Kasier Soseh?
on April 21, 2004
Every now and again a film comes along that is described as a gem. This is because the film just like a gem is a surprising pleasure to find esecially amongst the mass expanse and typical rubble of moviedom.
The Usual Suspects...
is just such a gem!
The film is described as a classic by all who have seen it even though it was released as recently as 1995. The title of the film itself is said to be borrowed from the much earlier classic, Casablanca.
When the film was released, it contained a host of 'unknowns'. However, do not associate the word 'unknowns' with 'untalented'; as is proved by the star of the film, Kevin Spacey, who picked up an Oscar for his mesmerising performance as Verbal Kint.
I confess that I will not try and give you a detailed synopsis of the film as I do not want to spoil your viewing (or perhaps more appropriately I would not know where to start my synopsis!)
Five Criminals Are Brought Together In A Police Line-Up...
If you are going to see the film for the first time, you will notice that when you ask for the film at your local video store, a smile will mould itself onto the owner's face. Why?
Because he knows just as everyone else who has seen the film that you are letting yourself in for something special.
And, I guarantee you that the next time you go into your local video store and catch a glimpse of the now 'oh-so-famous' cover of the film out of the corner of your eye you will notice that whereas before the film camouflaged itself against all the other films, it now seems to shine just like a self-assured individual stands out from a crowd.
If you are going to see the film for the second/third/whatever time. I hope you enjoy the film again and have fun trying to answer the immortal question:
WHO IS KEYSER SOZE?