The Usual Suspects

"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."   - Verbal Kint

release year: 1995
genre: crime drama/action
viewing setting: home DVD, 3/6/16 and 7/19/10 and 4/28/04

synopsis: After a massacre and a destroyed foreign ship, the police try to figure out what happened - why 27 people are dead, why there's no trace of the $91 million worth of drugs, and what part supposedly-reformed criminal mastermind Dean Keaton played in it all.

impressions: This is one of those movies that has a major plot twist, which hopefully you don't have to hear about until you watch the movie. In that spirit, I'll just say this: the plot jumps back and forth between the present and the recent past, explaining how five criminals ended up on that ship that night. All the while, a deepening mystery unravels. Watch it and pay attention - the payoffs are worth it. This is one of those movies that could be used as an intelligence test for people - if they don't get it, they're not smart.

things to watch for: The last ten minutes.

acting: Gabriel Byrne is Keaton, who wants to go legit but can't catch a break thanks to the police. Kevin Spacey won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Verbal Kint, a small-time thief who ends up narrating much of the tale here. Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollack, and Benecio Del Toro round out the usual suspects. Chazz Palmenteri is the cop who does most of the questioning, and through whose eyes we get our idea of what actually happened. Giancarlo Esposito and Dan Hedaya are other cops who aid in the investigation.

final word: Outstanding movie that will keep you thinking and guessing.

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