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The Usual Suspects - This is how a film should be made.
The Usual Suspects (DVD)
Member Name: TimListfield
The Usual Suspects (DVD)
Advantages: The finest twist in any film. Some excellent action. Sparkling dialogue.
Without a doubt, The Usual Suspects is the most intelligent film ever made, and is pitch perfect. It can easily be mentioned in the same sentence as such films as Chinatown, The Maltese Falcon and all those other films that have complex plots with excellent twists. But this film does have the best twist of all, and really throws you in every direction it possibly can. It has no real star as such, as even Kevin Spacey was in the middle of building up his career. So this was very much a film that had no real star, and is based around pure character acting.
The Usual Suspects stars Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Benecio Del Toro, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollock and Chazz Palimenteri, who are all in outstanding roles with extra support from Pete Postlethwaite.
At the beginning of the film, Dean Keaton (Bryne) is lying down on a ship, injured. Above him, a man stands. Slowly, the man comes down stairs. We never see his face. But he is referred to as Keyser Soze. Keyser then shoots Keaton dead and sets the boat alight.
We then cut to a few weeks later where cripple Verbal Kint (Spacey), the only survivor of the fire on the boat who is giving his statement. In return, he is given total immunity from prosecution.
However, before he can post bail, a customs officer called Dave Kujan (Palimenteri) comes to talk to him about Keaton. Kint is placed in an office and Kujan starts to talk to him. Intially, Kint is reluctant to talk, but slowly opens up as he is nervous about the threats being made to him.
Through flashbacks, we watch as Kint and four other criminal men including Keaton are put together in a line up, and are seemingly pushed into performing different crimes, all the while knowing that there seems to be a huge criminal force behind it. Then the name Keyser Soze comes up, and the men panic. Ultimately, it's leads to the scene in the shup, and one of the finest climaxes and certainly the most intelligent in Film.
This is just such an outstanding film. The tension, the action, the dialogue, the acting and the twists and turns are fabulous. The screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie is one of the best ever written. The direction is also outstanding. There is always something going on in this film, whether it's the brilliant and well paced action, or the sparkling dialogue. Nothing is ever left clear, so you're always thinking about it and always trying to work out what has happened.
The acting is just as brilliant. Everyone in this film is on top form, and there is no one 'star' who stands out and steals the scenes. Kevin Spacey is outstanding, and won the Oscar for his role. But at the same time, the other actors are just as outstanding. Each man revels in his role, and they clearly are all having so much fun in this film.
And the twist at the end is simply unbeatable.
To put it into perspective, Al Pacino was offered a role in this and turned it down. He now says that of all the roles he turned down, this film was the one he regrets most. And when you see it, you'll see why.
The only word of warning is that although it's a relatively short film, it's very complicated. So you have to stick with it, and like most other people you'll have to watch it again. And if you're like me you'll watch it plenty more times as well. Just a first rate film. It's ranked at number 10 on the AFI's mystery list, but it should be higher.
Summary: Twist after twist after twist. This film will keep you guessing to the end.