“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
Directed by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie, the neo-noir crime thriller follows the interrogation of Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey) after only two people survive a gunfight and an explosion at the San Pedro sea port. The story is told in flashback form predominantly, with the occasional discourse between interrogator Customs agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) and Kint.
As a warning, the remainder of the review may contain potential spoilers.
The plot was difficult to follow at times; I found myself initially being confused by the character backstories and even by the order of the events. In hindsight though, I think the confusing story line was necessary for character development. Unreliable narrators are characteristically defined by inconsistent or complicated narrations (we see an example of this with the main character in Memento, granted he has short-term memory loss which gives him a viable excuse).
Ultimately, one component stood out for me in this movie: Keyser Soze. He is the mysterious, unseen antagonist, who is the driving force of the entire movie. The intrigue and the fear surrounding the cold-hearted nature of a character that we never really get to interact with is what gives The Usual Suspects its flavor. He’s a memorable villain and a memorable enigma, which is particularly rare experience for me.
As a result, I thought the script and story were well-constructed. Kevin Spacey’s performance, as per his usual, was really good. Soze may have been the invisible driving force behind the events of the movie, but the viewers get to experience the story through Kint’s eyes and Kevin Spacey did a really good job as Kint.
This movie was a bit like Reservoir Dogs. As the movie progressed, I was interested but not committed, just waiting for the confusion about the whole gunfight to be resolved. But, as the movie ended and as more time elapsed, allowing for the movie to sink in, I started liking it more. For lack of a better expression, there’s a good aftertaste and for that reason, I enjoyed the movie and I recommend it, especially for people who have liked Reservoir Dogs, Memento, or even Fight Club.