The Usual Suspects (1995): Bryan Singer's nerve-jangling crime thriller with an unforgettable performance from Kevin Spacey

The film that made Kevin Spacey a superstar

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

The Usual Suspects, Poster, Bryan Singer, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey
The Usual Suspects (1995) By Bryan Singer
IMDb Ratings: 8.7
GenreCrime | Mystery | Thriller
CastKevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri
Country: USA | Germany
LanguageEnglish | Hungarian | Spanish | French
Runtime: 106 min
ColorColor (Technicolor)

Summary: A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and the key to this mystery lies with the only survivor and his twisted, convoluted story beginning with five career crooks in a seemingly random police lineup.

The Usual Suspects begins like any other crime thriller movies where the cops are searching for the criminal. The tagline, 'Five criminals, one line up, no coincidence,' does justice to the plot. This movie is intricately woven with its fair share of twists and turns proving at the end that it's no mere coincidence. It's sensational!

The setup of the movie is one where Kevin Spacey (Verbal Kint), who is a cripple, is being interrogated by the cop with the former recollecting the turn of events which led to several crimes. 

Gabriel Byrne as Keaton and Kevin Spacey as Verbal, in The Usual Suspects, Directed by Bryan Singer
Gabriel Byrne as Keaton and Kevin Spacey as Verbal
The 5 suspects, Dean Keaton, Verbal Kint, Michael McManus, Fenster, and Hockney, are so different yet they act together to pursue the acts of felony. McManus coaxes others to rob the cab disguised as NYPD and they set foot in California to sell the loot. After being deceived by the guy named Redfoot, they finally confront Kobayashi who is supposedly the lawyer of Keyser Söze.

Keyser Söze is the mastermind behind all the happenings. Verbal narrates a story where Söze, who is frequently referred to as devil, seems to be a mythical character and the mystery around him is quite gripping. He is portrayed as a larger than life chief. One is definitely intrigued by this character. He appears to be controlling the whole game. 

Kobayashi being threatened by McManus, The Usual Suspects, Directed by Bryan Singer
Kobayashi being threatened by McManus
The 5 suspects are coerced into a final ploy where they ought to destroy the dope in a boat where the deal is happening. Each of the suspects and the occupants of the boat are killed one after another except Verbal. It seems in the end that the whole planning was done indeed to get rid of one guy in the boat who could actually identify Keyser Söze.

The cop interrogating Verbal deduces Keaton to be Söze after hearing Verbal's entire story. He comes up with a valid reasoning about Keaton being Söze, which shocks the audience. Climax of the movie is enthralling, for the lack of a better word. It hits you like a bolt. The not-so bizarre thriller suddenly stands upside down, just when one is about to sulk at the element of predictability. The truth dawns upon the cop moments after he lets Verbal free. The movie suddenly shakes one up and we start connecting the dots. And one just can't help smiling about the clever storyline. 

Kevin Spacey as Verbal, the deceptive cripple, The Usual Suspects, Directed by Bryan Singer
A Still from The Usual Suspects
It gets better when one watches it the second time around which unravels all the clues and makes up for all the tricks which went unnoticed. 

What's interesting in the movie are certain quotes which are very sharp. 

'The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist'.

'One cannot be betrayed if one has no people'.

Thanks to the screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, you would not want to miss a single dialogue. He secured the coveted Oscar statuette for the same.

The Ultimate Climax Sequence, The Usual Suspects, Directed by Bryan Singer
A Still from The Usual Suspects: The Ultimate Climax
Watching Kevin Spacey in the movie is sheer bliss. His acting got him all the recognition. He rightfully deserved the Oscar for the 'Best Actor in a Supporting Role'. The soundtrack is very apt and sets you on a detective tour.

Released in 1995, The Usual Suspects, with a moderate budget and substantial storyline clubbed with a great cast and an unexpected turning point, is easily one of the great movies in this genre.

It is definitely worth a watch. Maybe more than once. It takes con movies to a whole new level.

After all, truth is always in the last place you would look!

About Author - 

Priyanka G is a techie by choice and a dreamer by passion. With rocket science as history and computer graphics as future, she has wide spectrum of interests. Writing gives her a vent, an identity and a sense of happiness. She is particularly fond of English humour, satire and old classics. She writes at

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  1. I LOVED this movie! It was one of the few movies that I watched more than once in the cinema hall. I first watched it because I saw the poster (provided above) and thought that it was a comedy. It obviously was not, so I watched it a second time because it was so well done!

  2. Well, I couldn't have agreed more... it's indeed a very well made film. Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts!!! :-)


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