The Usual Suspects 5/10
The Usual Suspects (R) 1999
Reviewer’s Tilt (9)
Special DVD Features worth a look-Director commentary
In what has recently become a popular story format, The Usual Suspects reveals itself through voice-overs and flashbacks. Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey), the only surviving member of a gang of would-be cocaine thieves, spins this tale of being drawn into a score with four other small time crooks. Veteren detective Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) pulls a one-man good cop/bad cop on Verbal throughout the movie. During the interrogation, Verbal begins recounting the events leading up to the explosion and carnage that killed his cohorts and rocked a San Pedro pier the night before.
Intricately woven through Verbal’s tale of criminals, robbery, murder and mayhem are the exploits of the mysterious Hungarian killer Kaiser Soze. So ruthless is this killer that he murdered his own family to prove his resolve to a rival gang. Although this film won an Oscar for its screenplay, the “surprise” ending is the weakest part of the film. The acting and story are intriguing, but the master criminal is really no master if he never gets what he was after all along (trust me, this is not giving anything away).
Watch this film for its curious character interplay and the stellar performances by Spacey, Gabriel Byrne and the enigmatic Pete Postlethwaite as Mr. Kobayashi. Just do not expect a satisfying, or rational, conclusion.
Format: Color, Widescreen anamorphic, Closed captioned.
Sound: (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
Extras: Director and writer commentary, trailer