The Usual Suspects
USA, Germany
Crime, Thriller, Mystery
IMDB rating:
Bryan Singer
Stephen Baldwin as Michael McManus
Gabriel Byrne as Dean Keaton
Benicio Del Toro as Fred Fenster
Kevin Pollak as Todd Hockney
Kevin Spacey as Roger 'Verbal' Kint
Chazz Palminteri as Dave Kujan, US Customs
Pete Postlethwaite as Kobayashi
Giancarlo Esposito as Jack Baer, FBI
Suzy Amis as Edie Finneran
Dan Hedaya as Sgt. Jeffrey 'Jeff' Rabin
Paul Bartel as Smuggler
Carl Bressler as Saul Berg
Phillipe Simon as Fortier
Jack Shearer as Renault
Storyline: Following a truck hijack in New York, five conmen are arrested and brought together for questioning. As none of them is guilty, they plan a revenge operation against the police. The operation goes well, but then the influence of a legendary mastermind criminal called Keyser Söze is felt. It becomes clear that each one of them has wronged Söze at some point and must pay back now. The payback job leaves 27 men dead in a boat explosion, but the real question arises now: Who actually is Keyser Söze?
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A Modern Masterpiece...
DISCLAIMER: Not seen 'The Usual Suspects' yet? Then don't waste any time reading this! Rent it, buy it, borrow it, I don't mind, but watch it before you bother reading any further.

One of the main reasons that 'The Usual Suspects' leaves such a long-lasting impression on the viewer is that it takes advantage of the gullibility of the audience. For the first 100 minutes we are delivered an intriguing and complex story to which there seems no easy answer. When the final piece of the puzzle seems to be in place the entire film is turned on its head. This final revelation initially leaves you speechless and then shortly after the audience realises that they have fallen for a brilliantly inspired trick. The second great trick that this film plays on its audience is making us think that by watching it again we'll be able to understand slightly better what was really going on. The truth is that the more you try to make sense of it, the more confusing it becomes. It's probably best not to try to look for any concrete answers and just accept that we fell for the filmmaker's tricks. The success of the film is mainly thanks to the sense of satisfaction the audience is left with at the end of the film. I think that people love the idea of a story when you're not sure who you can really trust, along with the realisation that the film's most shady characters are the filmmakers themselves.

Aside from the twist the film is also unique in the way the narrative is presented. The majority of the story is told as a series of flashbacks by crippled con artist Verbal Kint (a performance which deservedly won Kevin Spacey his first Oscar). The film's other Oscar went to screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (who also directed 'The Way of the Gun' (2000)) for his brilliantly constructed screenplay. It's a testament to the director, Bryan Singer that he was able to combine all these elements and turn them into something which is nothing short of a modern masterpiece. His moody and stylish direction help to bring the film together and perfectly complement the film's dark tone. A mention should also go to John Ottman for his skilful editing and amazing score.

The Usual Suspects is more than just a film with a clever ending. It revealed an awful lot about film audiences and showed us that their expectations can be used against them. It is also a film about story telling and the importance of myth. I think that one of the most valuable lessons that filmmakers can learn from ‘The Usual Suspects' is that the more interesting and intriguing your story is the more your audience will believe.

The Usual Suspects was certainly not the first film to contain twist ending (the twist ending became one of Alfred Hitchcock's trademarks) and was certainly not the last ('The Sixth Sense' (1999) also used this technique effectively but left more subtle clues for the audience to pick up on their repeated viewings). Despite this 'The Usual Suspects' remains one of the most innovative and memorable crime thrillers of the nineties.
SPOILERS: Totally Fun but Totally Over-rated once you think about it.

The movie script hangs on one completely implausible premise... That Keyser Soze would throw away $91 million which was left on the dock in order to achieve his true goal.

Also, no plausible explanation as to why Verbal Kint was in police custody in the first place. If he really is who we are led to think he is, wouldn't he be clever enough to not get caught? Is it some sort of game he plays with the police?

Too many holes in the script, a very sloppy story... but great fun and well acted. Just don't think about it too much.
BEST Thriller movie in the world.
Usual Suspects is one of the Best Mystery Thrillers in the world. It contains one of the greatest endings ever seen in any film. When i first saw this film, i understood 85% of the film. I had to watch it again, to recap on what happened earlier. After the second time i watched it, i realised this is a Superb movie with a fabulous twist. I have now seen this film about 20 times and seems to get better every time i watch it. Kevin Spacey delivers the greatest performance in his career. Gabriel is great, Benecio delivers a great performance with humour. Stephen is quite good in his best film. Pollak was impressive, Chazz Palminteri is a Superb underrated actor. Chazz looks ultimately smart and supposingly is a intelligent investigator. But Spacey turns out to be 10 steps ahead. Superb, brilliant and any other great ways to describe this film.
(major spoilers - plus, if you're a fan of the film, you won't like my review)

I've never understood the fuss made over this movie - every time its been on TV i've watched the first five minutes, and rolled my eyes for various reasons (the first time it was Gabriel Byrne's accent, the other times it was how over-wrought everything was) and put something good on instead.

I've finally given it the light of day tonight, to the end, and my feeling is this: one minute of cleverness at the end does not justify putting us through two hours of over-wrought actors playing at cops and robbers.

The general situation is so very familiar - the crims who get together for one last job that goes wrong, and the way its told is not fresh either: the structure of the framing narrative in the present day and the flashbacks which take us back to a past event we want to learn the truth about, comes from Citizen Kane and Rashomon (ie, on its own does not make this movie original). The constant promise of a final mystery, which is intended to propel us to the end was invented by Orson Welles, and is a device used quite frequently (Citizen Kane, Rashomon, Go, Memento, The Exterminating Angel, and most movies, in fact).

For two hours this is a lot of posing, actors dressed in "slumming-it" costumes straight from the costume designer's wardrobe, cliche dialogue, unbelievable situations, one unsustainable haircut, stubble and a lot of brooding "i'm a criminal" close-ups.

There is a justified reason for all this falseness (aka pretentiousness), given in the final two minutes, which i can't even bring myself to say in case you haven't seen it and are still reading - i've had too many movies ruined for me. Save to say, like The Sixth Sense, this movie is a one-gimmick movie, and it takes watching it for two hours to find out that gimmick (which is the only possible explanation for characters having what i like to call Stephen King names, by which i mean they sound like someone has sat down and thought "What's a really cool name i can make up?" instead of names real people would have. Or possibly "what's the wackiest name i can give a person and have the audience not laugh" - if this was the case, they failed with me. Every time someone said "Verbal Kint," "Kobayashi," or "Kaiser Sosay" i couldn't help giggling) - i spent two hours rolling my eyes and two minutes saying "yes, that's clever, but if people didn't equate twists with quality then i could have enjoyed the entire two hours - but it would not have been this movie, which is nothing without its gimmick. I had the same problem with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - i need more than one gimmick to keep me interested.
The Best Movie Ever!
Talk about perfection in a movie. A great cold opening leaving the viewer confused. The plot is complex and intriguing. The end seals the deal as the best movie ending of all time. The acting is incredible and Kevin Spacey definitely deserved the Oscar. This movie is funny, incredibly written, and has a good amount of action in it. This movie is definitely not some movie to watch with your friends, you have to watch this movie and really pay attention to enjoy it to the fullest. This movie will not disappoint.
Good film
The Usual Suspects follows the interrogation of Roger "Verbal" Kint. Verbal is one of two survivors of a drug deal gone wrong at the Port of Los Angeles. He tells the interrogator, Kujan, a drawn-out story about events that led him and the four other "usual suspects" to the port the night the drug deal went wrong, leading to a fire and several casualties. At the beginning the five suspects are brought into questioning over a truck hijacking. The suspects are Michael McManus played by Stephen Baldwin, Dean Keaton played by Gabriel Byrne, Fred Fenster played by Benicio Del Toro, Todd Hockney played by Kevin Pollak, and Roger "Verbal" Kint played by Kevin Spacey.

The theme of The Usual Suspects is that pride and arrogance lead to manipulation and betrayal. At the beginning of the film, none of the suspects will admit to anything that happened with the hijacking. We immediately see that these five men are arrogant but at the same time loyal, not throwing any of the other men under the bus so to speak. During the movie Kint manipulates the other "usual suspects" by playing puppet master without them even knowing it.

This theme keeps true throughout the film as Verbal is being interrogated by Kujan. As the story becomes more complex we see Verbal becoming more arrogant and manipulative of Kujan. The character of Verbal becomes more and more interesting as the movie goes on. Kevin Spacey was the perfect actor to play the role of Verbal as Spacey does well in providing mystery.

In respect to theme, this movie is similar to The Interview. The 1998 movie The Interview is also revolved around a man's drawn-out interrogation for crimes he may or may not have committed.

One technique used in The Usual Suspects is the motif of an unreliable narrator. Verbal often skirts around the questions being asked during his interrogation. Another technique used is flashbacks. As Verbal is being interrogated throughout this film Verbal narrates through the flashbacks exactly what happened the night of the boat explosion. The fact that Verbal was an unreliable narrator, thus the flashback scenes being unreliable as well, ties back to the theme of pride and arrogance leading to betrayal and manipulation.

The pride and arrogance all of the "usual suspects" portrayed throughout this film shows how easy it is to manipulate and betray people. This film was one a lot of people can relate to in general because we have all been manipulated/ have manipulated others at some point in our lives.
Great movie; would recommend
Directed by Bryan Singer

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Gabrielle Bryne and Benicio Del Toro

Overall: This is truly an astonishing movie and I definitely recommend to watch it, but don't read or watch anything relating to the movie prior to watching.


1. Kevin Spacey is absolutely amazing as Verbal and I don't think he can disappoint me as an actor.

2. Gabriel Bryne is awesome as Keaton.

3. All the other actors did good, it was mainly those two that stood out for me.

4. An excellent and well written story.

5. I have very mixed feeling for the ending. It is great and amazing and possibly one of the greatest ever... but I guessed it 20 minutes in. Don't get me wrong, it's excellently done and crafted and, if you think about it, is utterly, utterly genius but I guessed it and I feel like that hurt my viewing experience.

6. Good cinematography.


1. Other than Spacey and Bryne's characters, no one really stood out for me to the point were I can just barely recall some of their names.

2. It's sad I have to list the ending as a negative but If I can guess it, on my first viewing... 20 minutes in. It's good but I finished the film slightly disappointed.

Why The Usual Suspects is the best movie of all time
The best movies of all time are often the types of movies that you can watch over and over again and find something you never noticed the first time you watched it. The Usual Suspects, directed by Bryan Singer, is everything that a thriller mystery movie should have. The story follows a criminal played by Kevin Spacey who recalls the story of his partners in crime and how they all ended up getting killed by a man named Kaiser Soze, a supposed myth in the criminal world. The story, as it unfolds, is full of mystery about who the true identity of this Kaiser Soze character is, making the audience believe that Dean Keaton, portrayed by Gabriel Byrne, is only man that could be Kaiser Soze.

What makes this movie stand out above the others and makes one want to watch it multiple times is the twist. The major twist at the end shocks not only the audience, but also the characters in the movie, making the reaction that much better. What makes the twist in this movie so effective and shocking is the fact that the audience finds out the truth at the same time as the characters. Seeing the characters and how they react to the twist gives the audience a certain way to feel and how they should also react to the mind boggling realization. Not only does the way that the story is told, first person and through flashbacks, make the movie great, but the artistic climax at the very end makes it a movie you would watch over and over again. Since the movie is able to draw the audience in by having two climaxes at the end of the film, of which also happen to be the two twists, the audience is left even more in shock and awe the second time compared to the first. The first climax occurs with only ten minutes left in the movie, as the officer doing the interrogating draws the conclusion from Verbal Kint's, played by Kevin Spacey, story that Dean Keaton is the alleged Keyser Soze. Five minutes later, the second climax occurs after Kint leaves the police station, as the officer realizes with shock and disbelief that Kint is actually Keyser Soze. The way the the officer realizes the truth as well is so methodically thought out. After Kint leaves, the officer sits on his desk, drinking coffee and just looking at all the police stories posted on the wall behind his desk. Wide eyed, the officer realizes that some of the stories Kint told were just stories from the wall. It is this single moment that makes the viewer want to watch the movie multiple times as you're never completely sure what parts of Kint's story is real and what parts are simply made up.

Along with the twists, and the story telling, the acting done by Kenvin Spacey is that of legends and fine tuned actors. The writing of the script and how Spacey was able to portray the emotions of his character, a "crippled man," makes you feel a special connection to him, but the big twist is able to take that well crafted connection and completely topple it over. The artistic way that the camera follows Kint in the last closing scenes also makes this movie mind blowing and jaw dropping. One of the last shots is of Kint's crippled feet, limping away from the police station. However, with the audience now knowing that Kint is Keyser Soze, when they witness Kint's limp evolve into a regular stride, showing that Kint faked even his disability, everything becomes clear.

Besides just being entertaining, the movie can also contain a deeper, darker meaning in that shows the audience that not every story told will be a hundred percent true and can often times be perverted for the benefits of a story teller. Due to the great story, the effectiveness of the twists, and the acting, the Usual Suspects is one of many movies that belong in everyone's top movies list.
Good film , if not a little too over hyped.
The Usual Suspect is one of those films which tell you that seeing is believing. Don't get me wrong it was a very good film and I am glad I finally got the chance to see it but with critics going on and on about it, they kind of kill the magic of the movie. However that really did not hinder my enjoyment as I decided to treat this just like any other movie. Basic concept of 5 cons on various heist missions until one goes terribly wrong and then the authorities try to establish what went wrong hearing this from the account of one of the crippled crooks (Kevin Spacey). Gabreil Bryne was a excellent in his role as the lead crook and Benico Del Toro was also a stand out performance but we all know that Kevin Spacey was the man who took joy in playing the audience like a piano. A film can start of slow but the ending is the most important thing in the whole thing and I am glad to say that this ending was nothing short of a slap in the face.


A rather boring movie.
I don't like this movie. I think it's extremely boring. The first time I saw it I just kept on thinking "When is something actually going to happen?" Most of the movie they just talk and talk. The ending is fine, but the rest of the movie cannot at all stand up to it. I guess the director and scriptwriters had a very bad day when they decided to make this movie. That day they made a mistake - the movie should never have been made. My recommendation: don't see Usual Suspects, it's a complete waste of time.
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