- Movie Rating -

The Usual Suspects (1995)

| August 25, 1995


NOTE: I am trying to think of a nice way to write this review while staying mum about the facts and I think that I have done my best. But if you are reading this with the intent on seeing it, it may be a good idea to stop here and wait until afterwards. I wrote this to contest those who highly praised the film.

`The Usual Suspects’ sets itself up as a puzzling thriller that demands your complete attention (which it does), it lays all the pieces on the table but comes up with an ending that feels like manipulation.

The story begins on a ship that has been ripped apart by an explosion leaving only two survivors: one seriously burned and muttering about someone named Keyser Soze and the other is an innocent-looking club-footed man named Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey). Kint sits in the office of detective Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) and begins to spell out the entire story of the past few days.

It seems that sometime earlier he was arrested along with a mixed bag of criminals (Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollack, Benicio Del Toro and Stephen Baldwin) who end up in the same cell and begin to talk over plans to steal a fortune in Cocaine from this Keyser Soze person. Soze, as Verbal tells it, is a Hungarian mob boss so frightening that the mere mention of his name strikes terror in the hearts of even the most hardened criminals. No one seems to have ever seen Soze except Mr. Kobayaschi (Pete Postlethwaite) who steps in late in the film to lay out a story about how Soze murdered his own family to keep the mob from getting their hands on them.

I got all the facts of the story but I found that they didn’t add up to much. Director Bryan Singer and writer Christopher McQuarrie come up with a closing scene that seems to pull the rug out from under everything. In that, I felt that the movie had wasted my time with a lot of unnecessary fiction on Verbal’s part.

I didn’t see `The Usual Suspects’ in a movie theater but waited until the video release and that’s probably just as well because if you are like me, you tend to miss certain things the first time around. I felt that the best way to see the film would be in front of my television with my thumb on the rewind button so that if I didn’t get certain facts, I could go back and listen harder. Doing this, I got a tighter grip on the facts but ultimately I was left feeling rather cheated.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1995) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized