12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2009
"The Usual Suspects" is a film with an astonishing plot. To remain aware of what is going on, looking away from the screen for even a second is inadvisable. Despite the story line being saturated with information it is an enjoyable movie to watch. Due to the disjointed skipping between time lines, particularly in the beginning, it can be a little difficult to become immersed but I would say that it is worth the wait. As the plot unfolds it is increasingly captivating. What else made this film so exceptional is the cast performance. Kevin Spacey was stunning as Verbal Kint and he added a real depth to the character. The other criminals were also made particularly believable in the eyes of the audience by the actors, and Nolan was particularly easy to empathise with.
That being said, I was disappointed by the quality of the upscale. This is not what I would term 'high definition' by any stretch of imagination. The picture quality wasn't bad, but it lacked the distinctive sharpness and crystal clear nature of most blu-ray films and DVD to BR conversions. Also, the picture on the sleeve was reminiscent of that on a pirate copy- that is to say, dreadful.
Complaints aside, it was an entertaining film and well worth watching for anybody interrested in criminal thrillers.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2005
Who is Keyser Soze? He's the man who will have you watching this film more than once that's who. This is the greatest film-noir since Bogart that'll have you guessing who won the oscar just as much as 'who did it' because it's genuinely that good. In line with the greatest of films only when the whole, fantastically unexpected truth unfurls in the final minutes do you realise what you have just experienced. This film restores faith that there are people out there making movies for the right reason. And when it's all over I'll have a little bet with you - you can't watch this film just the once. The extras are fine but it's the main feature that holds you. The intelligence sparkles, the plot bristles as it twists with the whole feel taking you back to a golden age. Top 10 material - and that's a claim not lightly made....
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2002
Every so often a movie comes along that is brilliant in every way - a movie that obtains true classic status. The Usual Suspects in one such movie, and winner of 2 Oscars. It has the best and most complicated plot I have ever seen and is directed with extrordinary vision. It's a modern classic that can shoulder to shoulder with other greats such as L.A. Confidential and Memento. You find yourself drawn into it, and it's simply the best film for making you tear your hair out in frustation and yell "WHO IS KEYSER SOZE?" before running round the room yelling in anger. Then you settle down and watch eagerly, of course.
The plot can never really be explained until you've seen the film. Not for nothing did it win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. But I'll do my best. After an explosion, the the small-time crook Verbal Kint is being questioned. His story is amazing. A group of criminals are rounded up for questioning over a hijacking, the "Usual Suspects" of the title. However, this meeting just gives them an oppurtunity to scheme maliciously together. They embark on a devious plan to rob a crook making use of the crooked police. However they become embroiled in the plots of a master criminal known as Keyser Soze, so mysterious and elusive that no-one has ever seen him. Under the guidance of "Kobayashi", they are directed to a ship and a job for Keyser, who is seemingly infallible, as Verbal says:
"I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Soze."
In a shock ending that plays wonderfully on the gullibility of an audience to jump to conclusions, events come to a head with lightning-fast realisations. Believe me, you'll be slapping yourself for not seeing it.
The acting quality on show here is of the highest quality. It was the film that first announced Kevin Spacey (American Beauty, L.A. Confidential)onto the scene, who is undoutably one of the most talented actors in modern Hollywood. His portrayal of the crippled Verbal is unbelievably slick. He barely outshines the darkly brilliant Gabriel Bryne (The Enemy of The State), who plays Keaton with finesse. Another superb turn is for Benitio Del Toro (Traffic) as Fenster, who shows here the acting ability that won him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Traffic. Pete Postlewaite is also excellent as the elusive Kobayashi. However, there is no doubt that the most brilliant talent behind this film is that of young director Brian Singer, also known for X-Men. This is a masterpiece that he will probably never better.
As this is Special Edition, you'll be expecting extras, and you get them. It's the 2 disc DVD that the film deserves. Documentarys, outtakes, commentaries, TV spots, trailers, featurettes and deleted scenes. We are also treated to 3 easter eggs, which is the most I've seen on a DVD for a long time. But the creme de la creme is something that we deserve - A Region 2 exclusive feature. About time we got more than the Americans for once!
80 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2003
"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 - and 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.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2003
The Usual Suspects is a staggering film. Unfortunately for me however, when I first bought this film on video I knew the twist at the end; though this doesn't make the pay-off any more electrifying just as the credits roll!
Although I did originally buy this film on video, I soon bought the DVD as well - not only are the extensive extras brilliant value for money but this is the kind of film that I'm going to want to keep for ever! The Usual Suspects is the kind of film that I want to watch again and again; not a single line of dialogue is extraneous, the direction is subtle and almost every shot actually means something, and the acting of EVERY single principal is just incredible. Kevin Spacey in particular gives a brilliantly nuanced turn as crippled con-man Verbal Kint, and others such as Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri and Pete Postlethwaite give layered, idiosyncratic and very memorable performances. The other 'Suspects' are equally memorable; Stephen Baldwin and Kevin Pollak don't give a s**t about anyone, and Benicio del Toro as Fenster is the most hilariously unique character I have ever seen in a film ("He'll flip yo. Flip yo for real"). Genius.
The extras on the DVD are similarly awesome; documentaries such as 'Rounding up the Usual Suspects' display the kind of effort that is usually not seen on DVD; the cast have returned to comment and reminisce on the film-making process, reflecting the affection and regard in which this film is held. The commentaries, one from Christopher McQuarrie + Bryan Singer, and one from John Ottman. These commentaries are informative and entertaining, and in particular McQuarrie and Singer are very modest and hilariously witty in their views on the talk track. The way that they laugh about such niggles as continuity errors is brilliant.
This DVD package shows the respect that this film has garnered from all areas of industry; everyone wanted to return to talk about it for the documentaries, and the quality of the image and sound is absolutely top-notch. This is a film that you NEED for your collection. One of the best films of the '90s, it demands repeat viewings and thus is brilliant value for money. Buy it now!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2004
The Usual Suspects
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?
Hope you found this review helpful.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 21 February 2002
This gripping tour-de-force film has it all. A great cast, plot, characters and a twisting storyline that will have you on the edge of your seat before the explosive finale. Held in an L.A. interrogation room, a crippled crook called Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey) attempts to convince the authorities that the mythic crime overlord Keyzer Soze not only exists, but also was the cause of an explosion on a tanker in suspicious circumstances in San Pedro Harbour. But as Verbal lures his interrogators nito the incredible story of the crime lord's prowess, so too is the audience, captivated from beginning to end. This classic will leave you amazed as the plot unravels in the dying moments. With outstanding performances from Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Pete Postelthwaite, Benecio Del Toro and Stephen Baldwin, this is truly a film not to be missed. Winner of two 1995 Academy Awards, it will leave you breathless, and begging for more, leaving you with the sense you have been distracted through a great piece of directing by Bryan Singer. Truly one of the best and a guarenteed pleaser for almost all good film fans.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2003
If you haven't seen this before you are in for a real treat. The story unfolds at a rapid pace leaving you enthralled in its twists and turns. Then - when you're thoroughly confused - you get hit with a plot twist which will genuinely stun you. It honestly left me speechless and desperately wanting to watch it again with my newly acquired insight.
On second viewing the film seems completely different. It goes from being an outstanding whodunit to being a fantastic heist movie. Now that you know what's happening the pace seems to become slower and easier to follow. You'll see things that seem so obvious you'll be amazed you didn't notice them first-time-around. You'll have time to get to know the characters and enjoy their - often very humorous - exchanges. You'll also appreciate Singer's superb directing.
Although I'll never be able to recapture the magic of seeing it for the first time, it remains one of my favorite films which I never tire of watching.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2005
One viewing of this film is simply not enough. There is so much detail and little pieces of information thrown in throughout the film it is almost impossible to take it all in and make sense of it all in the first time round. This adds to the appeal and longevity of The Usual Suspects, which is a truly excellent film, making use of top quality acting talent particularly from Kevin Spacey who deservedly won an OSCAR for his part as Verbal Kint.
The plot in this film is so absorbing drawing you in deeper and deeper as you go through the story of what has taken place. It is hard for me to elaborate too much on the plot without giving anything to those yet to see it, so all I will say is that there is a wonderful twist that will leave you scratching your head and perhaps feeling slightly dumb and gullible. This is especially evident when you re-watch the film and make sense of all the little clues that apparently served no purpose on the first viewing.
To compliment the excellent plot all of the characters lines within the movie are excellent and fit the characters perfectly and gives you some nice one liners to quote afterwards. What we have is a very well rounded film in all areas from start to finish, camera work, acting, scenes and much more. To top it all it comes in a nice little package with some worthwhile extras that well put together.
I give this film 5 stars, quality of the plot is far too good for anything else. Definitely buy this movie, take some time out and be aware that you should concentrate to get the most out of the film and will undoubtedly want to watch it again.