The Usual Suspects

Subscribe to Kevin Spacey alerts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th September 1995

Box Office Worldwide: $23.3M

Budget: $6M

Distributed by: Gramercy Pictures

Production compaines: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

Reviews 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 60 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 8.7 / 10

Cast & Crew


Starring: Kevin Spacey as Roger 'Verbal' Kint, Stephen Baldwin as Michael McManus, Gabriel Byrne as Dean Keaton, Benicio del Toro as Fred Fenster, Kevin Pollak as Todd Hockney, Chazz Palminteri as Dave Kujan, US Customs, Pete Postlethwaite as Kobayashi, Giancarlo Esposito as Jack Baer, FBI, Suzy Amis as Edie Finneran, Dan Hedaya as Sgt. Jeffrey Jeff Rabin, Christine Estabrook as Dr. Plummer, Clark Gregg as Dr. Walters, Louis Lombardi as Strausz, Paul Bartel as Smuggler, Peter Greene as Redfoot the Fence

The Usual Suspects Movie Review

The Usual Suspects, the heavily hyped new film from Bryan Singer, is finally here, and with it comes the answer to the riddle posed in its high-powered ad campaign, "Who is Keyser Soze?"

Keyser Soze is a semi-mythical crime kingpin who ultimately directs the actions of five small-time hoods. With the promise of $91 million and the opportunity to keep their lives, the enigmatic Keyser sends the quintet on a fool's errand in San Pedro harbor: to stop a competitor's huge cocaine sale that would interfere with Keyser's own drug operation. As the film opens, we see the catastrophic results of the mission.

The band of unlucky criminals includes the classy Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), palsied Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey), hardware specialist Hockney (Kevin Pollak), entry-man McManus (Stephen Baldwin), and the mush-mouthed Fenster (Benicio Del Toro). Kint, the lone survivor of the five felons, is quizzed by U.S. Customs Agent Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) about the crime. The remainder of the movie shows us the tale he weaves.

The Usual Suspects puts some neat twists on the classic crime drama, and it's one of the blackest comedies you'll see this year. All the actors nail their parts with ultra-cool finesse, and just listening to Del Toro mumble his lines is worth the cost of the ticket alone. Singer's direction is also completely on target.

My problems with the film come from the plot. The primary difficulty is that the movie sometimes gets a little too clever for its own good, the same problem Hal Hartley ran into with this year's Amateur. While it keeps you in stitches, the film takes its multi-layered riddles a little too far, and while this is somewhat critical to the film, it's still a bit much. The end result is a picture bogged down by the weight of maintaining an overdone mystique.

The other "minor" problem is the mystique itself, regarding the identity of Keyser Soze. 45 minutes into the film, I placed my bet on the name of Soze's alter-ego. An hour later, I won, despite some rather unfair trickery on behalf of the script. While the flashback clues can be very misleading (a la Hitchcock's Stage Fright), they never come out and deliberately lie to the viewer. Regardless, it still shouldn't stop the audience from figuring it all out, well in advance.

Despite all this, The Usual Suspects is a funny, visually stunning, and much-needed change of pace from recent thrillers, which have had the originality of a Xerox machine. I'm happy to say that this one's no copy.

A newly-released DVD features commentary from Singer and writer Christopher McQuarrie as well as a separate track from the editor(!). Additional bonus features abound.


Subscribe to Kevin Spacey alerts


The Usual Suspects Rating

" Excellent "


More Kevin Spacey

A Little Chaos Trailer

In the palace of Versailles, a tremendous garden is maintained. One day, the builder and head gardener sees an ordinary woman arriving at the palace,...

Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy Album Review

The solo career of Mr Rice is not one you may realistically describe as that with which you may associate a prolific output. His is...

Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of Trailer

In the late 90's and early 00's, The Backstreet Boys were the most powerful boy band in the world. After discovering that they had not...

George The Poet - 1,2,1,2 (Dismantle Remix) Video

George The Poet unveils an audio for the Dismantle Remix of his single '1,2,1,2', taken from the tracks Remixes EP. The track has been produced...


Perfume Genius - Too Bright Album Review

Ever since the release of his debut LP 'Learning' back in 2010, Seattle's Perfume Genius has attracted increasing attention both publicly and critically. His piano...

The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School - O Come All Ye Faithful Video

The angelic voices of The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School perform a moving rendition of classic Christmas carol 'O Come All Ye Faithful'.

Jamie Scott - Last Christmas Video

Jamie Scott of London duo GRAFFITI6 performs an acoustic rendition of Wham!'s 1984 festive single 'Last Christmas' in a black and white one-take video. In...

Christina Aguilera Ft. Brian McKnight - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Video

In 2000, Christina Aguilera recorded a collection of some of her favourite Christmas songs and the sessions resulted in the album 'My Kind of Christmas',...