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The Usual Suspects (1995)

Reviewed on 2010 August 4

Brilliant, intricate, non-linear crime drama, that holds up to a repeat viewing even if you know how it ends.

After a dock explosion that leaves several criminals dead, the police are at a loss as to what really happened and who really did it. One badly-burned survivor, a Hungarian, names the man everyone else is afraid of: Keyser Söze, who the guy claims is the devil incarnate. Söze is apparently the E.F. Hutton of the criminal underworld: his name silences people. US Customs agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) decides he’s going to get to the bottom of this if it’s the last thing he does. This may take a while; the only other guy talking is Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey), who can tell them how he fell in with the other men on the boat, and more about the myth of Söze, but is too scared to do much more. He isn’t the brightest bulb in the box.

The cast is sterling too: Gabriel Byrne stood out as the urbane criminal Dean Keaton and Benicio Del Toro was funny as the sharp-dressed, mush-mouthed Fred Fenster, who appears to be speaking in Pikey. If you’ve never seen it before I would recommend not reading anything more about it until you see it. I’d also recommend getting your snacks ready before you start watching it, regardless of things like pause buttons and TIVO. Director Bryan Singer doesn’t slow down at all and Christopher McQuarrie’s script deserves your full attention.

Four chocolate morsels. I’d had pieces of Belgian lace that weren’t knit together like this thing.


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