Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #272 The Usual Suspects

In Uncategorized on August 16, 2011 at 6:10 AM

Movie #272 The Usual Suspects

(1995, US, d. Bryan Singer)

It’s one thing going into this film not knowing its ending. It’s another knowing it, because it’s one of those films in which the experience is completely marred by the answer to the “whodunnit” that lies at the center of this film. Sadly, I knew the culprit – the unusual suspect, as it were. But regardless of that, The Usual Suspects is a film that’s so well written, you can’t help but chuckle at nearly every line the character says regardless of the tone of the scene we are watching. Propelled by an all-star cast including Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, and Kevin Spacey, The Usual Suspects also marks the directorial debut of USC alum Bryan Singer. A movie in which you’re not really supposed to know what is going on, it is also a film that can really frustrate the average viewer. It often makes you feel as if you aren’t really paying attention or you just dozed off and woke up an hour into the film. But once the ending is revealed, we realize what we had just seen was just what writer Christopher McQuarrie wanted us to see. The problem with the film is that, again, if you know the ending, you sort of know the movie. And though some may critique the film for its adherence to cliches, I think it actually was a film that surmounted them. It took regular cliches of criminals talking to criminals, interrogation scenes, reliable narrators, and even the traditional action sequence and worked its own magic on them. Using editing strategies and a little bit of script genius, The Usual Suspects is a flip of a coin of a film, usually on the bad side for the second time viewer. But seriously, who is Keyser Soze?

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