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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Film
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...
Published on Feb. 22 2003 by x_bruce

3.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece for the gameboy generation
the usual suspects is primarily interesting on one level: in it's ability to surprise. if you watch movies to be intrigued by plot twists and aren't looking for much emotional involvement, perhaps this is a movie which will please. certainly the filmmakers and actors have created a clever piece of work.
if, on the other hand, you watch movies looking for something...
Published on Jan. 15 2002

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Film, Feb. 22 2003
x_bruce (Oak Park, ILLINOIS United States) - See all my reviews
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must-see., Sept. 7 2006
Themis-Athena (from somewhere between California and Germany) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Usual Suspects (DVD)
"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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars WHO IS KEYSER SOZE?..., July 19 2006
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Usual Suspects (DVD)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Can't Feel My Legs, Keyser, June 30 2004
This review is from: Usual Suspects, the (DVD)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What A Film - Keeps You Guessing To The End..., May 3 2004
This review is from: Usual Suspects, the (DVD)
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?
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5.0 out of 5 stars it will leave you wondering till the next time u watch it, 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!)
Quick 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:
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5.0 out of 5 stars This movie is Orca Fat (pretty darn good), April 16 2004
James R. Mckinley (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This is the unique story of 5 criminals and an anonymous crime lord. This movie is a masterpiece with an amazing ironic climax. A few may say the movie is wierd or complicated, but they just didn't understand the thing. The Usual Suspects is not your usual film, and will probably need a second viewing in order to fill in the gaps in your mind as well as the questions that hit you time after time. This story is great because the plot does nothing but puzzle you for the entire duration of the movie, then in the last 2 minutes most of your questions are answered and you can lean back in your seat holding your head thinking "what a great movie that was, but I think I have to watch it again because there was something I didn't quite understand". No matter how many times you watch it, you always seem to pickup something you didn't quite understand or catch the last time. The scenes don't get boring, the action doesn't just jump in at the opening scene, the films is filled with those catchy film dialogues that are nothing but great, and the climatic twist will leave most of you banging your heads with frustration because you had no idea what was coming to you. The well-chosen cast sinks into the plot and is so well constructed and believable that you're going to hope its all fiction. This movie is ironic, suspenseful, mysterious, classic and most importantly, cool. This film is a classic that we can compare all other movies to.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Amateurish. A waste of talent., March 14 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Usual Suspects, the (DVD)
Begins as a stylish crime drama, and stops dead in its tracks right there. For it also tries to con the audience, a la THE STING; HOUSE OF GAMES; THE SIXTH SENSE. And here it fails to measure up.
When properly done, the movie con can be a wonderful brain teaser for the audience: its mis-direction performing a magic show of the mind. And when all is eventually revealed, the upper consciousness is delightfully surprised and stimulated. One can go back and watch (and re-watch), the aforementioned films and take notice of the subtle clues, the intricate scenes patterned purposely throughout, to mask the cons; and he/she marvels at the inventive devices used. All this works as long as a basic tenet is observed: the clues and scenes MUST be true. Honesty between the filmmaker and his audience is paramount. No excuses allowed. In this film though, to 'sting' the audience, the method used is to simply LIE. That's all this film does. A critical scene is premised at the beginning of the movie, it's repeated several times through the course of the movie, and then at the end the filmmakers say, "Oh, we were just kidding, this is what 'really' happened. Fooled you!" Have they no faith in the intelligence of the audience? Probably do. But the truth appears to be much simpler: they just didn't know how to craft the con. Ultimately it was abject laziness on the part of the writers and director. They didn't take the extra effort. They didn't know how to formulate an inovative 'sting', so they took a cheesy way out and LIED to us. And not an ingenious lie mind you, but a CHEAP, CLUMSY lie. Instead of a sophisticated movie, we get the GONG SHOW. Unforgiveable.
Without spoiling anything; there are numerous clues as to the identity of Keyser Sozer. But these are unintentional and sloppy clues that any keen moviegoer can figure out shortly after first grasping the convoluted theme, (even the film's premise itself is somewhat muddled due to the awkward script). Given the plot, the characterizations, who was who (and after accepting you've been lied to) -- I mean: who else 'can' it be? A good movie, that could have been great, but a disappointment instead.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Distictive crime thriller, March 9 2004
Vagabond77 (Tennessee, USA) - See all my reviews
"The Usual Suspects" is anything but. The whole movie is told by 'Verbal' Kint (Kevin Spacy), the only living witness to a cargo ship explosion that killed several people. Verbal tells a U.S. Customs Agent (Chez Palminteri). It starts a few weeks before, as 'the usual suspects' are rounded up for a bogus robbery charge. It turns out they all unknowingly owe Kieser Soczey, a mysterious, near mythical, underworld crime boss. He makes all the crooks do little jobs for him to eliminate their debt. All the actors give a good performance. Gabriel Byrne is wonderful as the leader, always slimy and smooth at the same time. Stephen Baldwin gives the only good performance of his career. Benrico Del Toro is alright, but this was before he got famous. Kevin Pollak dose well as the only serios bad guy. The plot is smart, and director Bryan Singer makes all the right moves with colors (both New York and Los Angeles have distictive looks), camera angles, and coxes good performances from everyone. This is film noir at it's best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kaiser Sozé, meet David Mamet!, March 5 2004
Jack E. Martinelli (Duxbury, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Usual Suspects, the (DVD)
Despite it's 1995 release, I only recently learned of this simply brilliant caper / mystery / thriller film masterpiece. It is extremely demanding of its audience.
I rank it with the best classic mysteries, such as Hitchcock's "Rebecca", Welles' "The Third Man" and "The Lady from Shanghai", and similar films, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", "The Big Sleep", "Farewell, My Lovely", and "Laura". It compares very favorably to the more recent mystery standouts "Chinatown", "The Two Jakes", and "L.A. Confidential", in both storyline and production quality. Sets are excellent. Every actor is superb.
However, the film it rivals most closely, in my opinion, is David Mamet's utterly absorbing, and demanding, and brilliant 1987 masterpiece, starring Lindsay Crouse and Joe Mantegna, "House of Games". It's surely no accident that con and scam artists play a major part in each! These are, after all, psychological thrillers, or chessmatches!
I dare anyone to watch both films, back to back, in either order, and not be emotionally and intellectually exhausted.
And tremendously rewarded -- if not changed forever!
3/05/2004 JEM END
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