The Usual Suspects

1995

The Usual Suspects

Critics Consensus

Expertly shot and edited, The Usual Suspects gives the audience a simple plot and then piles on layers of deceit, twists, and violence before pulling out the rug from underneath.

89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 71
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Movie Info

Near the end of The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey, in his Oscar-winning performance as crippled con man Roger "Verbal" Kint, says, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." This may be the key line in this story; the farther along the movie goes, the more one realizes that not everything is quite what it seems, and what began as a conventional whodunit turns into something quite different. A massive explosion rips through a ship in a San Pedro, CA, harbor, leaving 27 men dead, the lone survivor horribly burned, and 91 million dollars' worth of cocaine, believed to be on board, mysteriously missing. Police detective Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) soon brings in the only witness and key suspect, "Verbal" Kint. Kint's nickname stems from his inability to keep his mouth shut, and he recounts the events that led to the disaster. Five days earlier, a truckload of gun parts was hijacked in Queens, NY, and five men were brought in as suspects: Kint, hot-headed hipster thief McManus (Stephen Baldwin), ill-tempered thug Hockney (Kevin Pollak), flashy wise guy Fenster (Benicio Del Toro), and Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), a cop gone bad now trying to go straight in the restaurant business. While in stir, someone suggests that they should pull a job together, and Kint hatches a plan for a simple and lucrative jewel heist. Despite Keaton's misgivings, the five men pull off the robbery without a hitch and fly to Los Angeles to fence the loot. Their customer asks if they'd be interested in pulling a quick job while out West; the men agree, but the robbery goes horribly wrong and they soon find themselves visited by Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite), who represents a criminal mastermind named Keyser Soze. Soze's violent reputation is so infamous that he's said to have responded to a threat to murder his family by killing them himself, just to prove that he feared no one. When Kobayashi passes along a heist proposed by Soze that sounds like suicide, the men feel that they have little choice but to agree. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Cast

Kevin Spacey
as Roger `Verbal' Kint
Stephen Baldwin
as Michael McManus
Gabriel Byrne
as Dean Keaton
Chazz Palminteri
as Dave Kujan
Kevin Pollak
as Hockney
Benicio Del Toro
as Fred Fenster
Suzy Amis
as Edie Finneran
Dan Hedaya
as Jeff Rabin
Paul Bartel
as Smuggler
Carl Bressler
as Saul Berg
Jack Shearer
as Renault
Clark Gregg
as Dr. Walters
Morgan Hunter
as Arkosh Kovash
Ken Daly
as Translator
Michelle Clunie
as Sketch Artist
David Powladge
as Bodyguard
Ron Gilbert
as Daniel Metz-Heiser
Billy Bates
as Bodyguard
Smadar Hanson
as Keyser Soze's Wife
Gene Lythgow
as Cop on Pier
Peter Greene
as Redfoot (uncredited)
Bob Elmore
as Bodyguard No. 1
David Powledge
as Bodyguard No. 2
Bob Pennetta
as Bodyguard No. 3
Bill Bates
as Bodyguard No. 4
Castulo Guerra
as Arturro Marquez
Peter Anthony Rocca
as Arturro's Bodyguard
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Critic Reviews for The Usual Suspects

All Critics (71) | Top Critics (22)

  • An imaginative, entertaining crime mystery with plenty of nerve and vigor.

    Jun 18, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • If the pleasures of The Usual Suspects are the more superficial ones of ingenuity and style, those are abundantly available. The twists and turns of the plot are an awful lot of fun, while the ending is genuinely satisfying and surprising.

    Jun 18, 2013 | Full Review…
  • In a season of fat blockbusters, a picture as brainy, bitter, and compact as this one comes as a shock and a treat.

    Jun 18, 2013 | Full Review…
  • It's a nerve-shredding suspense movie about corruption, a bravura actor's show full of deliciously twisted cops and robbers, and a complex riddle packed with unexpected turns.

    Jun 18, 2013 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • For many true movie fiends, noir is the key American movie type, and the most fun when it's done right. The Usual Suspects is done right.

    Jan 18, 2013 | Full Review…

    Jack Kroll

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • I didn't believe this story for a minute, even in movie terms -- though it's less offensive than a piece of junk like Apt Pupil, Singer's subsequent feature.

    Mar 28, 2011 | Full Review…

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