the reason'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
A thriller largely lacking in substance (due to its sometimes weak script, et al.), but Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning give surprisingly good performances. I would never claim that it's a great movie, but it's still a highly enjoyable one.
The Snake Pit meets The Cell
Reviewed by KHL for Gothika at 2008-08-06 11:16:07
Not a really original idea, and the visuals are very reminiscent of The Cell, which was pretty groundbreaking visually and preceded this movie by 3 years. Although Berry is the "star" she pales in comparison to Cruz and Downey, Jr., who give great performances despite the lackluster script. OK to watch once, but pretty predictable Hollywood stuff.
This is one of those movies where you sepend the whole running time trying to decide whether to baiol or stick with it...and if you stick it out, you spend at least an hour afterwards trying to decide if you even liked it. The characters are, for the most part, two-dimensional and unlikeable, and there's about five places where the plot zigs when yo think it's gonna zag. I can't dismiss it completely, but at the same time, I'm finding it difficult to recommend it.
Snappy dialog, awesome performances by all three leads and a great plot contribute to the fun of this send up on film noir. Kilmer actually succeeds in stealing some scenes from Downey Jr. (which is unusual) with his over the top character 'Gay Perry'.
A great fun ride of a film.