The Usual Suspects (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Usual Suspects (1995)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic 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.

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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
Peter Greene
as Redfoot (uncredited)
Gene Lythgow
as Cop on Pier
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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News & Interviews for The Usual Suspects

Critic Reviews for The Usual Suspects

All Critics (69) | Top Critics (21)

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

Full Review… | June 18, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 18, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

In a season of fat blockbusters, a picture as brainy, bitter, and compact as this one comes as a shock and a treat.

Full Review… | June 18, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 18, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | January 18, 2013
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.

Full Review… | March 28, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Usual Suspects

½

A film that needs to be viewed multiple times in order to fully appreciate, The Usual Suspects is unassumingly intelligent.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

A clever scripted executed with a brilliant cast (including the cunning Kevin Spacey). The Usual Suspects keeps you guessing and on the thrilling edge with its layer-filled plot, direction and its deceitful twist that's still praised as one of the more surprising ones to this day. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

½

A group of hardened career criminals find themselves in the same police line up and decide to use the opportunity to pull a lucrative heist, little knowing that their strings are being pulled by a notoriously ruthless underworld figure. Bryan Singer's debut was a beautifully crafted crime thriller taking a lot of cues from the classics of Film Noir such as the Killing and The Asphalt Jungle using an excellent ensemble cast and ingenious plotting to keep you guessing as the plot twists and turns like a writhing serpent trying to wriggle free your grasp. It's one of those films you wish you could see for the first time again and again but although it clearly suffers if you know the cunning twist in the tale, The Usual Suspects still has much to offer during repeat viewings. It may lack the weightier characterisation of the likes of Heat or L.A. Confidential, but it's still easily one of the best crime stories of recent years and I implore anyone who hasn't had the ending spoiled for them yet to watch it ASAP while you still can!

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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