The Usual Suspects (1995)

I wouldn’t have been surprised if Kevin Spacey got some strange looks walking down the street in 1995.

In the same year he freaked everyone out with the “what’s in the box?!” shocker in Se7en, he also played one of the line-up in The Usual Suspects – a role he actually won an Academy Award for.

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He played the cripple ‘Verbal’ Kint in a line-up that included:

An uber young Benicio Del Toro, before he became known as a Mugatu look-a-like in the Marvel Cinematic Universe –

Looking very much like Mugatu from Zoolander as Marvel's The Collector

Del Toro doing his best death stare as Marvel’s The Collector

 

One of the Baldwin’s that no one remembers

Alec? Nope. William? Nope. Aha! It's Stephen! Huzzah!

Alec? Nope. William? Nope. Aha! It’s Stephen! Huzzah!

Gabriel Byrne, who was actually in 2006 Australian film Jindabyne

Filming Jindabyne in Australia

Filming Jindabyne in Australia

And Kevin Pollak, who’s other film for 1995 was a little one called Casino, which is also on my long lists of films to watch

Pollak in Scorsese's Casino. Copyright Universal Pictures

Pollak in Scorsese’s Casino. Copyright Universal Pictures

Now, I have been meaning to watch Usual Suspects for years and years.

1. It’s directed by Bryan Singer, who’s better known these days for directing the X-Men movies. Well, he directed three of the best ones anyway – X-Men in 2000, X-Men 2 in 2003 and this year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). He’s also set to helm the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.

Bryan Singer checking out Magneto's helmet

Bryan Singer checking out Magneto’s helmet

2. Christopher McQuarrie penned it – and won an Academy Award for the clever, twisty screenplay. I interview McQuarrie back in 2012 for Jack Reacher, which he wrote and directed. A pretty solid action flick actually, with Tom Cruise in the lead role. Obviously, Hollywood agreed because he’s know directing Mission: Impossible 5.

Christopher McQuarrie directing Tom Cruise

Christopher McQuarrie directing Tom Cruise

3. Kevin Spacey is in it. Nuff said.

If you need convincing, watch this:

If you need more convincing, check out Netflix series House of Cards. In fact, if you haven’t jumped on that bandwagon already, you really need to. No one nails creepy/ruthless as much as Spacey. I think if you met him in person, you would be partly in awe, and partly terrified.

So with such high expectations, I wasn’t sure about The Usual Suspects. But I have to admit, I was really impressed.

It took a while to grab my interest, but then I was hooked.

And that ending…

What a shock that ending was!

What a shocker!

Out of 10 I would give it:

3 points for THAT ending (and that it was still a surprise nearly two decades later), 2 points for superb directing/writing, 1 point for Benicio Del Toro’s accent and 2.5 for having everyone asking ‘who is KEYSER SOZE?’ years before social media made it easy.

8.5/10