The Usual Suspects  (1995)

IMDB Rating 8.7/10  106 min - Rated 18 Thriller | Crime

Stars:            Kevin Spacey,  Benito Del Toro,  Steve Baldwin Director:      Bryan Singer

Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects received widespread acclaim and commercii success when it was released in 1995. By drawing together a stellar cast to tell a convoluted tale, he created an entertaining take on the heist movie. Five criminals, McManus (Baldwin), Keaton (Byrne), Fenster (Del Toro), Hockney (Pollak) and Verbal (Spacey), are pulled in by the cops for a line up. Subsequently released, it becomes apparent that they were drawn together for a reason, when a spokesman for the elusive criminal mastermind Keyser Soze approaches them. Soze is a sinister and widely-feared gangster who wants them to raid a ship containing a drug shipment, kill everyone on-board and collect a large sum of cash.  Told primarily through flashback, by Verbal as the police interrogate him after the event, the mystery deepens and the tension builds to a surprising twist. It is this revelation that is the film's crowning glory, and its weakest point. The surprise is so unexpected that you could kick yourself for not seeing it corning. However, with the benefit of hindsight there are few clues that would enable you to work it out and hence the effect is rather contrived.  All the main actors do a great job in portraying their varied characters although it has to be said that none really inspire much sympathy. Spacey, in particular, is especially effective and gives the most memorable performance of the film; the Academy obviously agreed. The result is a baffling but entertaining story worth watching for the climax and the on-screen connection of some of Hollywood's most versatile and distinctive actors.