January 08, 2005

The Usual Suspects

Mindscrew movies (I am seriously trying to avoid using the f word on this blog) tend to wear me down, but this one is brilliant. A great script by Michael McQuarrie, and great acting by Kevin Spacey make this a memorable story.

Mindscrew movies are hard to write about, at least if you donít want to spoil the story for those who havenít seen it. Generally I tend to write more for those who have seen the film that I happen to be interpretting. And I think this is appropriate since my readers all seem to come from internet searches (I had over 500 visitors this past week, and 98% of them came via some search). I would expect that those folks who are searching on a film would more often be fans of the film who have seen it, rather than someone who hasn't. But I digress.

Most of the characters get mindhozed in this one, and the characters are not all plotting to mindream one character. And they are not all conspiring to mindbang the viewer either. I wonít say what does happen.

Anyway, for an overview, five criminals find themselves in the same police station, in the same lineup for a witness. They find themselves in the same holding cell too, and they hatch a plan to make some serious cash. One job leads to another, and to LA.

If you havenít seen The Usual Suspects, but you have heard of Keyser Soze, this is where it came from. My experience was this. I had heard the weird name but didnít know its origin.

Fans of The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon will get a great rise out of this story. It occurs to me now that Pynchonís work certainly mustíve had an influence here.

Just to further wet your appetite, everybody -- Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del Toro, Kevin Pollack Ė dies. Everybody except Verbal, Spaceyís character. And he makes a deal for immunity. But Chazz Palminteri, is a Customs agent who ainít letting him go that easy.

The character interplay is great in this film. Spacey goes one-on-one a lot with Chazz, and Byrne, who plays a nasty ex-cop bad guy who is also possibly in love, unless heís minddiddling Verbal.

The Usual Suspects demands a rewatch. Or a first watch if you havenít seen it yet.

Posted by Wayne at January 8, 2005 04:20 PM
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