USUAL SUSPECTS, THE

 365 High-Def Days of Oscar: Day 44

Release Year: 1995

Oscar Wins:

Best Supporting Actor

Best Original Screenplay

THE PLOT THUS FAR

Winner of two 1995 Academy Awards(r), including Best Original Screenplay, this masterful, atmospheric film noir enraptured audiences with its complex and riveting storyline, gritty, tour-de-force performances (including an Oscar(r)-winning* turn by Kevin Spacey) and a climax that is truly deserving of the word stunning. Also starring Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak and Pete Postlethwaite, this ‘thoroughly engrossing film (HBO) is so gripping and diabolically clever (The Wall Street Journal) that it becomes a maze you’ll be happy to get lost in (Los Angeles Times)! Held in an L.A. interrogation room, Verbal Kint attempts to convince the feds that the mythic crime lord not only exists, but was also responsible for drawinghim and his four partners into a multi-million dollar heist that ended with an explosion in San Pedro Harbor leaving few survivors. But as Kint lures his interrogators into the incredible story of this crime lord’s almost supernatural prowess, so too will you be mesmerized by a lore that is completely captivating from beginning to end!

WHAT WE THOUGHT

“The Usual Suspects” concerns the story of five felons brought in by the police for a line-up and how those same felons reluctantly end up working for the mysterious and ghost-like Keyser Soze: a legend among the criminal fraternity, a man who no-one has seen and lived, a man so dangerous that he is thought to be the devil himself.you get the idea. The plot is rather intricate so I shan’t bother to explain it here but it does rather make me think that Christopher McQuarrie, the writer, kept going to the office in the morning with yet another complexity to add that he thought up the night before.

From Spacey’s story, the creative team developed a top quality script, set with clockwork precision. Singer’s directorial style virtually evolutes on the razor’s edge and conveys an increasing tension. It is filled with ingenious visual ideas and served by fluid camera movements. Singer was in his early thirties when he shot his film but it presents the signs of a seasoned author. There’s also a tight editing and a unsettling score which cement the movie in its place of winner. More remarkable, the authors pull off with gusto to increase the audience’s curiosity throughout the film in spite of a somewhat deliberate confusion and the interest won’t weaken until the end which constitute the apex: an unexpected twist which will leave the audience speechless once they understood it. In Singer’s flick, it doesn’t disappoint because there are little but noticeable visual and verbal clues which justify it. However, it has something unsettling. We believe that we are at the end of the maze but there’s more to the picture than meets the eye. Maybe this “coup de theatre” veils one more truth. Maybe also the shrewdest ones will have guessed it but the result is the same for any viewer: Singer puts a baffled spectator in his pocket.

Singer and McQuarrie show a perfect master in the domain of the film noir: an ominous atmosphere, nocturnal scenes which stay rooted in the mind and a deep psychology of certain characters which give more substance to the film. Considering the last point, the character of Gabriel Byrne is the most interesting one: a former crooked cop who seemingly redeemed himself in catering but caught up by his past and forced to come back to work. I personally think that Byrne is the stand-out of the topflight cast the movie boasts. But don’t neglect the other members. Kevin Spacey pocketed a deservedly Oscar in 1996 and the rest of the cast doesn’t stay on the bench.

The Blu-Ray comes with a brand-new digibook. It also has a trailer for its sole special feature. The A/V Quality is superb with a transfer that’s on par with the last disc. Well, that’s because it’s a reissue for a prior release. But, you’re getting a nice package with a booklet bound in similar style to WB’s recent releases. Oh well, if you don’t have it on Blu-Ray…buy it now!

RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!

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