“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the World he didn’t exist.”
Five, seemingly unrelated, criminals are arrested by the Police and pulled in for a line up, but are subsequently released. It soon becomes clear that these men were drawn together for a reason. When approached by a spokesman for the notorious and almost mythical criminal mastermind Keyser Soze, they are asked to raid and destroy a cargo shipment full of cocaine, kill everyone and take the large sum of money for themselves. ‘The Usual Suspects’ is one of the greatest heist movies ever to be made and its crowning glory is the twist at the end of the film.
Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint (Kevin Spacey) a crippled con man, Dean Keaton (Gabriel Bryne) the crooked ex-cop desperately trying to go straight, Fred Fenster (Benicio Del Toro) the flash criminal with a foreign accent, Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin) the cocky professional and the arrogant Todd Hockney (Kevin Pollak) are ‘The Usual Suspects’. The film opens with the final stages of an explosive showdown at a pier in San Pedro resulting in the Police discovering one blown up ship, 27 dead and $91 million worth of drug money. The story is told primarily through Verbal’s interrogation with the US Customs Officer Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) and through the use of flashbacks as the events leading up to and after the finale is explained. Six weeks before the showdown at the dockyard the five seemingly random ‘Usual Suspects’ are all rounded up, arrested and hauled in for a line up to be grilled on the hijacking of a truck in New York. After being released, the five criminal decide to a job together in order to get some revenge on the police , which goes extremely well. After completing another successful job together, the five are soon approached by a gentleman by the name of Kobayashi (Pete Postlewaite) who is the spokesman for the almost mythical, notorious criminal mastermind Keyser Soze. It becomes clear that each of the five ‘usual suspects’ has wronged Keyser Soze at some point in their criminal careers and now the time has come to pay him back. The line up was no coincidence and the ‘Usual suspects’ have become puppets for the elusive Keyser Soze. However, the real question is, who is Keyser Soze?
Directed by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie, ‘The Usual Suspects’ combines fantastic first class acting, with a gritty intelligent storyline with a one of the best twist endings in cinematic history, to be one of the best films ever made. Kevin Spacey deservedly earned an Oscar for his performance in this film and it’s also worth making note of Gabriel Bryne, Pete Postlewaite and Benicio Del Toro are equally captivating in this film. A strong plot, which is both believable and easily understandable, along with its sharp dialog and brilliant cinematography will pull you in and keep you captivated until the very end.
Throughout the film, you will be asking yourself ‘Who is Keyser Soze?’ It is this unseen, elusive almost mythical character with legendary status amongst the criminal underworld who is the central character to the films mystery and also its driving force. A lot has been made of this films ending which is no doubt one of the best mind blowing twist endings ever. Many people will feel that watching film with a twist at the end is not worth doing more than once. However, I strongly encourage a second viewing where you will be able to see the subtle clues and clever tricks that the director has used in order to drive the film to its climatic ending. With a riveting thought provoking unique story, ‘The Usual Suspects’ is one of a kind, film Noir at its best and a true cult classic. If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to.