Usual Suspects

Usual Suspects

4.8 30
Director: Bryan Singer

Cast: Bryan Singer, Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Chazz Palminteri


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Near the end of The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey, in his Oscar-winning performance as crippled con man Roger "Verbal" Kint, says, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." This may be the key line in this story; the farther along the movie goes, the more one realizes that not everything is quite what it seems, and whatSee more details below


Near the end of The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey, in his Oscar-winning performance as crippled con man Roger "Verbal" Kint, says, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." This may be the key line in this story; the farther along the movie goes, the more one realizes that not everything is quite what it seems, and what began as a conventional whodunit turns into something quite different. A massive explosion rips through a ship in a San Pedro, CA, harbor, leaving 27 men dead, the lone survivor horribly burned, and 91 million dollars' worth of cocaine, believed to be on board, mysteriously missing. Police detective Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) soon brings in the only witness and key suspect, "Verbal" Kint. Kint's nickname stems from his inability to keep his mouth shut, and he recounts the events that led to the disaster. Five days earlier, a truckload of gun parts was hijacked in Queens, NY, and five men were brought in as suspects: Kint, hot-headed hipster thief McManus (Stephen Baldwin), ill-tempered thug Hockney (Kevin Pollak), flashy wise guy Fenster (Benicio Del Toro), and Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), a cop gone bad now trying to go straight in the restaurant business. While in stir, someone suggests that they should pull a job together, and Kint hatches a plan for a simple and lucrative jewel heist. Despite Keaton's misgivings, the five men pull off the robbery without a hitch and fly to Los Angeles to fence the loot. Their customer asks if they'd be interested in pulling a quick job while out West; the men agree, but the robbery goes horribly wrong and they soon find themselves visited by Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite), who represents a criminal mastermind named Keyser Soze. Soze's violent reputation is so infamous that he's said to have responded to a threat to murder his family by killing them himself, just to prove that he feared no one. When Kobayashi passes along a heist proposed by Soze that sounds like suicide, the men feel that they have little choice but to agree.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Few movie thrillers grip their audiences in the way this gritty but seductive caper flick does. Christopher McQuarrie's brilliantly structured, Academy Award-winning screenplay opens with a mysterious dock fire, the unexpected result of a botched hijacking that leaves the crime scene littered with corpses. Flashbacks reveal the participants as career criminals Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Benicio Del Toro, and the conflagration's sole survivor, Kevin Spacey. Interrogated by police officer Chazz Palminteri, Spacey spins a bizarre tale of treachery and murder, over which hovers the specter of a mysterious master criminal named Keyser Soze. Bryan Singer's direction consists mainly of misdirection: Like a magician, he diverts attention from clues that might enable viewers to peer through veils of deception shrouding the truth. He's ably assisted by the powerhouse cast, the standout of which is clearly Spacey. His Oscar-winning portrayal of crippled stoolie, Roger "Verbal" Kint, catapulted the character actor to stardom. Distinguished by its deliciously clever script, razor-sharp direction, and superb, nuanced performances, The Usual Suspects is a modern classic.
All Movie Guide
A slick triumph of casting and wordplay, The Usual Suspects was one of the most fiendishly intricate American films of the 1990s. Relentlessly stylish and growing more convoluted by the frame, the film invited its audience to take part in the confusion, to attempt to discern illusion from reality as if watching a magician's act. What makes The Usual Suspects remarkable is that fact and fiction never evolve into distinct entities, entwining in an almost indiscernible jumble to baffle the viewer. Like the all-important but (largely) unseen Keyser Soze, Suspects' genius rested in holding its audience hostage to the intangible, making it equally impossible to believe what you've seen or dismiss what you haven't. In turn, the film is shamelessly manipulative, demanding the audience's complete involvement and undivided attention; a bathroom break carries the risk of losing the plot entirely. As the men caught up in the film's labyrinthine intrigue, Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Pollak, and Stephen Baldwin fit their roles perfectly, demonstrating an ensemble casting coup. Spacey, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Verbal Kint, is particularly impressive, managing to be pathetic, off-handedly irreverent, and cunning all at once. The qualities on display in his performance make him the poster child for the film's overall tone: shifty, garrulous, and altogether not to be trusted, Spacey's Kint embodies the film's compulsive, charming will to deception. Director Bryan Singer handles his characters and the film's many twists with the ease of a devious master puppeteer, mixing liberal doses of film noir, humor, and intrigue with refreshing audacity. The result was one of the most accomplished thrillers of the decade, a mystery whose wild manipulations came courtesy of a director whose hands were very tightly gripped around the controls.
Rolling Stone

The Usual Suspects is the freshest, funniest and scariest crime thriller to come along since Pulp Fiction. Peter Travers
Los Angeles Times
But like a tale from the Arabian Nights, told for the sheer pleasure of storytelling, this elegant puzzle not only enjoys showing off, it also has something to show. Kenneth Turan

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gabriel Byrne Dean Keaton
Stephen Baldwin McManus
Chazz Palminteri Dave Kujan
Kevin Pollak Todd Hockney
Pete Postlethwaite Kobayashi
Kevin Spacey Roger "Verbal" Kint
Benicio Del Toro Fred Fenster
Dan Hedaya Jeff Rabin
Suzy Amis Edie Finneran
Giancarlo Esposito Jack Baer
Paul Bartel Smuggler
Carl Bressler Saul Berg
Phillip Simon Fortier
Jack Shearer Renault
Christine Estabrook Dr. Plummer
Clark Gregg Dr. Walters
Morgan Hunter Arkosh Kovash
Michelle Clunie Sketch Artist
Vito D'Ambrosio Arresting Officer
Gene Lythgow Cop on Pier
David Powladge Bodyguard
Billy Bates Bodyguard
Castulo Guerra Arturro Marquez
Bert Williams Old Cop
Peter Greene Redfoot (uncredited)
Louis Lombardi Strausz
Frank Medrano Rizzi

Technical Credits
Bryan Singer Director,Producer
Sara Andrews Set Decoration/Design
Hans Brockmann Executive Producer
Howard Cummings Production Designer
James Deck Asst. Director
Roy Downey Special Effects
François Duplat Executive Producer
Eric Golstein Cinematographer
Art Horan Executive Producer
Kenneth Kokin Asst. Director,Co-producer
David S. Lazan Art Director
Francine Maisler Casting
Michael McDonnell Producer
Christopher McQuarrie Screenwriter
Louise Mingenbach Costumes/Costume Designer
John Ottman Score Composer,Editor
Geoffrey Patterson Musical Direction/Supervision,Sound/Sound Designer
Robert Jones Executive Producer
Scott Sakamoto Cinematographer
Newton Thomas Sigel Cinematographer

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