The Usual Suspects

January 16, 2010
By TheGothicGunslinger ELITE, Lakeland, Florida
TheGothicGunslinger ELITE, Lakeland, Florida
177 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To be great is to be misunderstood" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Considered to be one of the 'quintessential' movies from the '90's, along with stuff like Fight Club and Forrest Gump, The Usual Suspects is the directorial debut of Bryan Singer, who would go on to direct the first two X-Men films along with Superman Returns. Granted, while the film is a pretty good rendition of the heist genre, I can't help but feel there's nothing in the film that really stands out as being great or grand.

In the film, we follow a group of convicted men who have just been released from a police-lineup on a trumped-up charge. Before being let go, though, one named McManus devises a plan to rob some of the corrupt cops in NY, and then using the loot to sell to a man in California for quick cash. What starts out as a simple job quickly turns complicated, as the infamous Keyser Soze - a mob boss compared to the devil himself - begins to get involved.

While there are some good performances in here, I felt that only Keaton and Verbal were the only ones with personalities, while the other felt like carbon copes of each other. Sure, you can slap each with a different background; but it does it make much of a difference if these characters aren't all that interesting to begin with?

The film's pace is quite erratic as well, due to the different stories going - one taking place before and during the heist and the other afterward. We're never really given enough time to try and comprehend each character and his decisions, as it seems we just get swept away into the next scene based on a line or two of dialogue. This just seems like bad plot flow, which is a real hamper onto the film.

One of the reasons this film got so popular was because of its twist ending, which is understandable given the cryptic in medias res opening. However, after being led through the turns and twists of the film, we're given a lackluster twist that just seems to close up the film. However, in literally the last five minutes, the film changes its mind for one last shock which, though clever, felt forced. It was as if the film was going for that last "NO WAY" moment before it ended.

The visuals, though, I'll give credit to. While they can sometimes just be OK, a lot of the shots have this really nice neo-noir feel to them, especially during the heist at the end. Even when it's not dark, the visuals have this hard to describe visual flair to them that gives the movie a unique look.

I really did want to love this movie, after hearing about it so much. It did start out strong, but after the first 30 minutes or so, the movie really goes downhill. It's nice to look at and the film has its high points, but The Usual Suspects is just weighed down by a bad pace, forgettable faces, and a muddled plot.

5.5/10 - Average

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!