The Usual Suspects (1995)

Director – Bryan Singer
Writer – Christopher McQuarrie

Once in a while, a film comes along that takes you, and the world, completely by surprise. It creeps up on you without fanfare and then pounces on you unawares. The Usual Suspects is one of those films.

It has an exceptionally good line-up, but at the time, the actors were relatively unknown. Gabrielle Byrne plays a moody, no nonsense, yet moral criminal Dean Keaton. Benicio Del Toro is the husky, messed up Fred Fenster. Stephen Baldwin gives us a pithy Michael McManus. Kevin Pollack is Todd Hockney, a creeped out crim always watching his back. Chazz Palminteri is the irascible, irritable Dave Kujan of US Customs and Pete Postlethwaite puts in a magnificently malevolent performance as Kobayashi. They are all on top form, giving the film a great collaborative feel. However, the guy who steals the show (and that’s not all) has to be Kevin Spacey as the humble Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint, who pins all of the pieces of this jumbled tale together, and makes it into the convincing, if (perhaps deliberately) confounding hit that it is. The premise is that one of the five criminals in a police line-up has wronged the legendary master criminal named Keyser Söze. Söze takes his revenge by setting up the criminals in a heist that takes them out one by one, each one suspecting the other of being the elusive Keyser Söze himself, but we never quite find out if they’re right. Or do we?

It is all eminently engaging, fun and cool! But who is Keyser Söze?


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