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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 9.69%
Average: 4.85%
Pretty Bad: 0.44%
Total Crap: 3.08%

4 reviews, 203 user ratings

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Usual Suspects, The
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by Mrs. Norman Maine

"An exquisite trick puzzle of a film"
5 stars

Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie established themselves as major talents with this low budget, but carefully made caper thriller that turns out to be a completely different film than what you think you've been watching.


I thought I might have a quiet weekend. Norman is still in San Diego, on the set of Waterworld II and Patrick, the cat, is visiting relatives in Cleveland leaving me alone and at peace in Chateau Maine, my luxurious mansion, high in the hills above Hollywood. I had just settled down with my brunch Mimosa and a plate of Rice Krispie squares when the phone rang. It was Madame Rose, my publicist, bearing ill news. Mr. Carducci, the manager of the factory producing my VickiWear line of clothing is having some legal problems and he and his family might have difficulty meeting the demand generated by my new Virtually Vicki infomercial.

Apparently the imported Indonesian seamstresses have not been paid their promised $1.98 an hour for several weeks and a few troublemakers in the group staged a protest at the Paramus mall Pic-n-Save, a local boutique where my fine clothes are sold. This has led to some sort of investigation by the New Jersey Department of Labor and there may be some unpleasant news stories. I instructed Madame Rose to head from her cushy Manhattan offices to Paramus post haste and to liberally hand out coupons for free Tasty-Freeze frozen yogurt to the girls. She thought she might need some help and asked if I’d mind her taking Frank Gifford along as extra muscle; apparently he has some experience in this area. As long as there is adequate media coverage, she can take the entire payroll of Live with Regis and Kathy Lee. No one will be able to say that Mrs. Norman Maine doesn't take care of the employees that make her clothing line. Madame Rose said she could, at the very least, have someone there from The Weekly World News.

Legal affairs being somewhat on my mind, I decided to view a film this afternoon that takes a look at the American legal system. I first thought about Legal Eagles or The Pelican Brief but decided that lawyers and birds are not necessarily the best combination. I settled, instead, upon director Bryan Singer and writer Christopher McQuarrie's minor masterpiece from 1995, The Usual Suspects. Singer and McQuarrie, high school friends from New Jersey, made quite a splash with this tale of cops and robbers in which everything is straightforward and nothing is as it seems. Both received heaps of accolades and McQuarrie carried home an Oscar for best original screenplay.

The Usual Suspects is the story of a group of five low life criminals from New York. They seem to accidentally meet at a line-up one night after they're individually rounded up and brought in for questioning about the hijacking of a shipment of gun parts. The five are McManus (Stephen Baldwin), a tattooed hot dogger of a petty criminal; his buddy Fenster (Benicio Del Toro) who slurs his words into a practically ununderstandable dialect; Todd Hockney (Kevin Pollak), a guy who knows his weapons; Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne) a cop gone bad who's trying to go straight with the aid of his lawyer girlfriend (Suzy Amis); and Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey), a small time con man with a limp, a crooked arm and a tendency to talk too much.

The film is cleverly constructed, starting at the end of the caper in which these five are involved - an attempt to steal tens of millions of dollars off a boat in San Pedro harbor in what looks like a drug deal gone bad. The story of how the five get together and become enmeshed in a web of intrigue surrounding a mysterious criminal mastermind, Keyser Soze, is intercut with the interrogation of Kint, the only one of the five to be captured after the crime goes sour. Customs agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri), has been chasing Keaton and is sure he and Soze must be connected - he questions Kint together with Jeff Rabin of the LAPD (Dan Hedaya) and an FBI agent (Giancarlo Esposito). Kint's relaying of the story during the hours prior to his posting bail and the attempts by the cops to get at the truth through other means make up the spine of the film.

The plot is a Chinese puzzle box of a thriller. Everything you think you know is turned around by subsequent events, including a brilliant finale which calls the whole story of the film into question. For the film to work, the character of Kint, who supplies the majority of the exposition and narration, must draw in the audience as he draws in the listening cops. Kevin Spacey does so brilliantly and won a well deserved supporting actor Oscar. The true nature of his performance cannot be seen on a first viewing of the film; only after all the secrets have been revealed is it possible to see all the subtleties in mannerisms and delivery that make Kint a compelling and absolutely believable character. McQuarrie's screenplay leaves the audience guessing but wraps up the loose ends neatly. He has a splendid ear for dialog and a gift for story construction. Not everyone can start a thriller at the end and still make it a thriller.

Director Singer keeps the action clear and helps most of the cast to career best performances. Stephen Baldwin has never been so good in a film since, and this was the film that put Benicio Del Toro on the map. His Fenster is a bizarre, languid collection of tics which still come across as human. You can believe all of these guys as people and as criminals. If there is a weak link, it's Gabriel Byrne who overdoes the soulful Irish eyes just a tad and who could be just a bit more physically menacing in some scenes. There are also memorable bits from Paul Bartel as a jewel smuggler (not mugging for once) and Peter Greene as a fence. Pete Postlethwaite also appears as a mysterious representative of Keyser Soze. His make-up and his accent seem a bit out of place at first, but when all is explained, it makes sense.

This is a great film for thinking adults. It will leave you replaying the plot, deconstructing the action, and anxious to see it again. And, unlike most other thrillers, knowing the dénouement doesn't spoil it. You can watch it over and over if, for no other reason, to see how cleverly each little bit is set up and how neatly the whole piece hangs together.

Originally Written 7/22/2001
Revised 6/12/2003

Police line up. Z Galerie furnished apartment. Stolen emeralds. Corrupt cops. Overcooked corpses. Smoking ship. Asian temple bell. Red pool table. Elevator assassinations. Smashed porcelain coffee mug. Quartet brand bulletin board.

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originally posted: 12/18/04 10:22:56
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell FANTASTIC AWESOME TWIST AT THE END 5 stars
4/27/16 Ken Please see this movie, if you haven't seen this. It's spellbinding. 5 stars
3/13/16 Charles Tatum One of those awesome films you love to rewatch from time to time 5 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
4/13/15 jokerass nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 1 stars
4/03/15 daraz idiot film 1 stars
2/19/15 yulfiana hell 1 stars
4/04/14 Monday Morning Double Feature: this and Pulp Fiction. Great stuff! 5 stars
3/24/14 Justin R. Kevin Spacey is amazing. Go see this movie. 5 stars
3/16/12 stanley welles a tremendously woven plot 5 stars
5/15/10 Soze's enemy Wish there is a part 2 for this.. 5 stars
2/13/10 R Lan a fantantic movie with great performances all around. 5 stars
12/15/09 DP A very good movie until the famous final twist. Then it becomes a classic. 5 stars
8/19/09 Jon B Some good action scenes but an average plot that hinges on the end twist. 3 stars
8/13/09 Jeff Wilder Holds up to repeat viewings even if you're familiar with the plot twist. 4 stars
3/25/09 Brent Fantasic movie, even after you know how it ends. 5 stars
10/31/08 MARK ARAIN Classic movie. Anyone who doesn't think so should be disected & analysed. 5 stars
10/31/08 Shaun Wallner My kind of film. 5 stars
9/01/08 another one man, how can you forget this movie 5 stars
2/26/08 pkr perfectly carried out till the end. the tension is unbearable. 5 stars
1/29/08 Sean Bennet Movie was great had great story and totally made you think about what you were watching 5 stars
10/15/07 MP for d masses Great movie with one hell of a twist the devil (Keyser Soze) nearly spins out.... 5 stars
6/01/07 Darkshine An amazing movie. Make sure you don't blink. 5 stars
5/28/07 will by the time the ending came around I didn't care 3 stars
3/27/07 Agent Kujan It's not just the twist.. it gets better with each viewing and never loses the impact. A+ 5 stars
3/27/07 serena it is a beast of a film, overrated myarse people giving it 3 stars obviously didn't get it 5 stars
3/19/07 TSTORM Candidate for greatest film ever with best ending ever 5 stars
2/13/07 Double M Intriguing, mysterious with great acting and a jaw-dropping twist. A MUST for mystery fans. 5 stars
1/21/07 billyjoebubba top ten, if you pay attention ! 5 stars
1/13/07 Masterfederer Definately a Classic for the ages, top 10 of all time! 5 stars
1/05/07 Anarcho-syndicalist commune All movie twists must be forever compared to the famous one that made this film so great 5 stars
12/11/06 Iggy If you didn't like this movie, you just didn't understand the dim are you?! 5 stars
11/20/06 Grease Monkey Low budget, large returns. what good moviemaking is all about. 5 stars
8/30/06 Sepi53 brilliant 5 stars
7/04/06 the rock fucking awesome 5 stars
6/06/06 Josh Racine A movie to watch more than once. A classic. 5 stars
6/05/06 Thomas GREATEST ENDING OF ALL TIME 5 stars
3/31/06 kerry indrid cold,are you kidding me.This movie has the best twist ever.MEMENTO WHO? 5 stars
3/28/06 Indrid Cold There's many movies with big twists, why does everyone seize on this one as being so great? 3 stars
3/17/06 Dk The greatest twists in movie history 5 stars
2/18/06 matt great story, atmosphere, acting, twists, and terrific action. Perfect! 5 stars
12/21/05 harry filmmaking like this comes once in a lifetime.A film for any generation 5 stars
12/11/05 Monster W. Kung A very ordinary story, with an ending that negates it. Truly one of the most overrated ever 3 stars
12/01/05 cooler The greatest fucking film I have ever seen 5 stars
10/21/05 Lamont Watson The movie was great its on eof the best action whatts going to happen next movies i ever se 5 stars
8/24/05 Eden Only worth it for the ending, but it kills the film 3 stars
8/12/05 D Buckley Best twist ending ever 5 stars
8/12/05 ES A movie made for those who love a twisting thriller= the best movie out there 5 stars
6/14/05 Steve Newman A top 10 fantastic film - this was extremely good 5 stars
3/29/05 Lyn BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/17/05 Naughty Devil Man Convoluted with pedestrian cinematography, ending kills the story. 3 stars
3/12/05 Mr. Slave Innovative and Amazing; Best movie made in 1995. 5 stars
3/01/05 PaulBryant very solid, lots of fun, lots of guns. 4 stars
2/25/05 Bana absolutely breathless 5 stars
2/19/05 whackie great movie 5 stars
2/05/05 tatum One of the greatest crime dramas ever made 5 stars
1/07/05 Unduly very good, too cute ending 4 stars
12/28/04 Archanist_101 "Give me the KEYS! YOU COCK-SUCKER MOTHERFUCKER! ARRGHHH!" 5 stars
10/09/04 Odysseus One of the best endings in movie history 5 stars
8/31/04 dawit spectacular 5 stars
8/07/04 Taylor Fladgate Keyser Soze for President! 5 stars
8/06/04 Mark Buggest surprise ever 5 stars
7/24/04 Monster W. Kung One of the most overrated movies of all time. 3 stars
7/18/04 Boris Smith Speechless 5 stars
6/18/04 Akhil It doesnt get better than this 5 stars
6/11/04 Kevin Farkas Every time I see it, I look forward to seeing it again. 5 stars
5/28/04 Dufus Whoaaaaaaaaaaaa my face has blossomed 4 stars
5/17/04 Jiz Maybe if every ending was this good, Identity wouldn't have sucked. 5 stars
4/10/04 IP Freeley how can you not like this movie...this movie rocks 5 stars
4/08/04 Jessica great movie, surprise ending 5 stars
4/07/04 Rene Richmond One of my favorite movies of all time, slick and total suspence..a must see. 5 stars
4/07/04 vamp you can't get tired of this move 5 stars
4/03/04 Desperado Downright incredible movie Spacey is magnificent and a great ending:and I am Kiser Soze 5 stars
4/01/04 snow Will be a classic one day 5 stars
3/31/04 LIAM JACKSON Keyser Soze: The last guy i'd wanna fuck with 5 stars
3/27/04 ann berry It will keep you guessing to the end... 4 stars
3/06/04 Jaco Visser EXCELLENT! A very slim film with all the ingredients for suspense! 5 stars
2/21/04 Keyser Soze This is the best movie I have ever seen 5 stars
2/16/04 rob navasca it is really awesome, but 2day i cant find a copy in the store 5 stars
1/31/04 Ultron So 99% of the money did not happen? 4 stars
1/28/04 john bale A master at misdirection this scriptwriter makes a classic mystery thriller, with fine cast 5 stars
1/22/04 Tom Awesome! 5 stars
1/21/04 Betty White Vastly overrated, overplotted film; good acting, but nothing more. 2 stars
12/21/03 prashant pawar NOTHING TO SAY !!!! except KEYSER SOZE. He explained me unidentified existence 5 stars
11/29/03 Charlie C 10!!!!! 5 stars
11/22/03 Boris Smith Fuck Ebert. How the fuck can you give this masterpiece one and a half stars? 5 stars
11/14/03 ONUR wonderful event 5 stars
10/26/03 Joe Paterno Best movie ever 5 stars
10/23/03 the other Don Johnson This movie is so fuckin awesome. i was completely speechless at the end. 5 stars
10/11/03 IbAnEzInSaNiTy11 Robert Ebert is fuckin' slow if he couldn't understand this movie! Fuck his C rating...A+ 5 stars
8/26/03 AD fucking mint 5 stars
8/26/03 Renegade Bushido This movie rocks, now I know what all the talk is about 5 stars
8/26/03 Deanna from Indiana slicker than snot on a doorknob, see this movie now. 5 stars
8/19/03 Gareth Duddridge Absolutely awesome, Spacey is great , ending leaves you fucking amazed 5 stars
8/14/03 Jeannie Karlsen Kevin Spacy so deserved the oscar he got for this performance. Just a fabulous actor! 5 stars
8/11/03 P-Ton5234571 great movie. definitely go see it 5 stars
6/14/03 tans simply great 5 stars
5/13/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back, Mo'fos!!!) McQuarrie's writing is awesome, and Benicio Del Toro is funny as hell! 5 stars
5/13/03 scottyrobotty great actors, one of the best stories ever and told perfectly. a classic 5 stars
4/26/03 janice one of the greatest movies ever! kevin spacey is awesome!!!!! 5 stars
3/31/03 Keysor Zose dope ass movie 5 stars
3/27/03 Sean One of the finest crime drama's ever, Singer is a Genius 5 stars
3/24/03 Doc Shock Great flick! Enjoyed the characters. 4 stars
3/20/03 Mikey I like it 4 stars
3/16/03 y2mckay Gimme the fuggin' keys, ya fuggin' cocksuckah! 5 stars
3/10/03 male mwila this is a great movie maybe even better than pulp fiction and the twist is one of the best 5 stars
3/07/03 Glenn say no more 5 stars
2/20/03 Uncle Salty See It. See It. See It. See It. See It. See It. See It. See It. And also... See It. 5 stars
1/12/03 WestcoastPunk One of the greatest movies ever made!!!!!! 5 stars
1/11/03 will i only finally saw this tonight. absolutely awesome. 5 stars
1/01/03 Jack Sommersby Well-plotted and - photographed, but characters are for the birds. 3 stars
12/15/02 sibly worthwhile movies 4 stars
12/03/02 Lynsey D. I loved this movie, and I just saw it in 2002! (hard 2 believe I know) 5 stars
11/27/02 007 One of the best movies ever made! 5 stars
11/25/02 Nick Kontjonis The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was, convincing the world he didn't exist. l 5 stars
11/21/02 Dave AWESOME!!!! 5 stars
10/29/02 Kelly best movie I've ever seen in my 21 yrs of existence 5 stars
10/02/02 rose jones it hought that it was brill but a bit confusing 5 stars
9/14/02 spaceocowboy Hollywood may not always 'get it right'. But every once in a while... 5 stars
8/23/02 Kraig Wilson My favorite suspensful movie, if not favorite overall. Great storyline. watch it twice! 5 stars
8/04/02 crystal brendon the usual suspects rocks! 5 stars
7/28/02 Kino Beautiful movie! 5 stars
7/19/02 Punk_Ass Jenny, Lay off the Crack, It has fucked up your brain. This Movie ownZ. 5 stars
7/15/02 Keith good, but kind of over-rated. 4 stars
7/12/02 KMG OVERRATED 3 stars
6/29/02 Jenny Tullwartz Saw it at Free HotMail. When I refresh my links see if this file a view of my favorites. 1 stars
6/18/02 Mr Math Enormous script, enormous performances, enormous flick. 5 stars
6/09/02 R.W. Welch Intriguing mystery pic; would have been better if it made sense. 4 stars
5/24/02 Dark Barøn Worth More Looks than your girlfriend's pussy. 5 stars
4/23/02 Movie Expert Not as great as Pulp Fiction but much better than LA Confidential. 4 stars
4/22/02 O-tay if you didn't like this you don't deserve to speak about any movie 5 stars
4/22/02 O-tay if you didn't like this you don't deserve to speak about any movie 5 stars
4/10/02 Mike Czech Good flick. Damn good flick. 5 stars
4/06/02 ellie This film has the cleverest plot twist ever dreamed up, a masterpiece! 5 stars
4/05/02 Edfink Lombardo A genuine, flat out masterpiece of filmmaking in every sense...Spacey, as usual, is great 5 stars
3/05/02 Keyser Soze I love this movie!!!!!!! Masterfully created and brillantly thought out. 5 stars
1/05/02 Magnum Craphole Totally overrated. 3 stars
1/03/02 Scream-Mania Though not better than Memento, it's a classic movie 5 stars
12/01/01 Scottish Kilt Watch it 5-6 times and then u will realise why this film is magical. 5 stars
11/30/01 The $1.98 Pyramid Surprising and yet deceiving that Spacey screwed the whole story up. 4 stars
11/12/01 Lord Raymos Great acting, great plot twist, great directing, great film. 5 stars
9/06/01 spaceworm Saw the last screening at our theater. LOOOONG wait for that VHS! 5 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk A milestone film for surprise endings. This made crime capers ultimately 'cool'. 5 stars
8/01/01 Keyser Soze Excellent! I'll flip ya if ya don't like it. 5 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg The gratest trick the divil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exsist . 5 stars
7/15/01 Basil A really great film. 5 stars
7/02/01 Clarance fanfuckintastic movie! 5 stars
5/22/01 Michael Bukalo Awesome! 5 stars
5/16/01 The Jedi Droid 1st flick in a long time that I didn't figure out the ending before hand. great movie 5 stars
5/10/01 Ro Brilliant. Stands up to repeat viewings because there's always something new to notice. 5 stars
5/07/01 Mikko Salminen Very god, when you watch it for the first time. 5 stars
3/28/01 Monster W. Kung Overrated but enjoyable. Not quite one of the best thrillers/mistery, though. 3 stars
3/13/01 Shaun Turner movie is a masterpeace 5 stars
3/04/01 za watch a second time, and try to determine what is real/ what is in the mind of the villain 5 stars
2/13/01 Jake Wonderful cast of characters made this one of the most memorable films I've seen 5 stars
1/24/01 Sully Top 3 movie of all time!!! 5 stars
12/20/00 Liam People who rated it less than awsome obviously have ot seen the film, or are just stupid 5 stars
12/04/00 Jak Boiee I think it's a good movie. Even after the 5th viewing 5 stars
11/28/00 Scott Rosier Makes my top 5 list, great cast and even better story 5 stars
9/04/00 DarcyElaine Forget Pulp Fiction... THIS is the definitive 90s suspense film! 5 stars
9/02/00 Rosalie Coleman One of the best movies ever made. Loved the end! 5 stars
8/25/00 cadroy sometimes hollywood does it!!!brilliant!!! 5 stars
8/10/00 Niamh Brilliant 5 stars
8/03/00 Piz One of these a year and I'll be set. 5 stars
7/15/00 sugarushed my all-time favorite movie - everything about it was fantastic, esp. the final scene 5 stars
5/14/00 Bruce A well written thriller with a great ending 5 stars
4/21/00 Danny Sykes Brilliant. Watch it! 5 stars
4/20/00 lolita hudson amazing 5 stars
4/19/00 malcolm gimme the keys you cocksucker 5 stars
4/18/00 SRH fantastic 5 stars
4/01/00 Arnaldo Cruz one of the most intelligent scrips I have seen,well done by everydody involved 5 stars
3/29/00 qbdilbert totally cool...from an old time of the all time greats;named our dog kobayashi 5 stars
2/16/00 Neil Austin Gabriel Bryne is Keyser ok. 5 stars
1/06/00 perverted pixie It scared the shit out of me!! 5 stars
12/30/99 VerbalGirl Everything about this film is awesome. Run, do not walk, to rent it and buy the score CD. 5 stars
11/30/99 Mic Great film. The director deserves more credit than he got for his innovative filming. 5 stars
11/20/99 Kelli The cast in this movie did an excellent job. It has the best ending any movie has ever had 5 stars
11/06/99 Stacy Marie Shoemake By far the best movie of the 90's. When you think you have the movie figured out, watch it 5 stars
11/05/99 Anthony Ellis A truly intriguing and memorable movie! 5 stars
10/29/99 DMC Benecio Del Toro is God...oh yeah, and Kevin Spacey ain't bad either... 5 stars
10/16/99 Meepos If aliens land tomorrow, show them this movie to reall test their higher intellect. 5 stars
10/10/99 SJKelley If you're a guy and alive, this should be your favorite film ever. 5 stars
9/07/99 Glitter Berry "Hand ME the keys, you cocksucker" 5 stars
8/01/99 Obi Wan If you only see one suspense/thriller flick ....WATCH THIS MOVIE!!!!! 'Nuff Said!!! 5 stars
7/19/99 Ophelia13 This is one of my all time favorite movies! 5 stars
6/25/99 David Keech My vote for best movie ever made. Spacey kicks ass, as does rest of cast. Wow! 5 stars
6/17/99 P.S.O.K Spacey Kicks Ass!! 5 stars
5/06/99 The Bomb 69 The ending was all that and a bag of chips 5 stars
4/19/99 jimmy jam Trippie. Keeps ya awake. No boring parts 5 stars
4/10/99 Keith Calder Such a smart movie. 5 stars
3/31/99 The Graduate Whattamovie. Spacey is the shit. Spacey is The Shit. 5 stars
3/28/99 PEZ The best I've seen, keeps you hanging on 'till the end. You won't be disapointed!! 5 stars
2/20/99 Piz great suspense and punch , great characters, a definite hidden gem. 5 stars
2/02/99 Matthew Bartley Cracking twist and general greatness all over this film 4 stars
1/28/99 donkey_dew I have seen this movie at least 20 times. It rocks!!! 5 stars
1/27/99 Bishop Johnson Excellent crime film! What an ending! Spacey is great! 5 stars
1/26/99 {{{OZ}}} A gem that you *must* watch in total seclusion. A minute missed ruins the film. 5 stars
1/26/99 Vick Di Brecci A movie I'd like to revisit. My memory is of a well acted, fun, imaginative crime thriller 4 stars
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  15-Sep-1995 (R)
  DVD: 28-Nov-2006

  25-Aug-1995 (18)

  19-Oct-1995 (MA)

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