The Usual Suspects (1995)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Usual Suspects</strong> (1995)

(Third viewing, On TV, August 2017) Hmmm … how is it that no review of The Usual Suspects shows up on this web site? I recall seeing the film in the late nineties (at my grandma’s place, on regular TV, probably in French) and loving it. I also recall seeing it much later and still liking it a lot. And yet there are no reviews in my files. Bah, this gives me another chance to formally extol the film’s virtues. The Usual Suspects gets a lot of attention for a surprising ending, but it’s a movie that works just as well when you can anticipate the big twist. In between Christopher McQuarrie’s script and Bryan Singer’s direction, it’s made well enough that it has an unusually effective moment-to-moment immersive quality: you just want to see what will happen next, or bask in great dialogue, capable direction and terrific actors. Nearly everyone in the cast brings their best to their roles, from Kevin Spacey’s Oscar-winning role to Gabriel Byrne’s solid presence, Benicio del Toro’s oddball diction and great turns for Kevin Pollack, Stephen Baldwin and Chazz Palminteri. The set pieces are well done, and for a movie that hinges on deception, there is far more truth to it than I remembered from previous viewings. A minor classic in the crime thriller vein, The Usual Suspects combines engrossing viewing with a deceptively dense story. It qualifies as one of the must-see movies of its genre.

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