The Usual Suspects - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Usual Suspects Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 20, 2006
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!
Super Reviewer
½ July 18, 2007
Part caper film, part character goof off (ala Ocean's Eleven), part ghost story, I simply enjoy watching this again and again. The cast makes the rest of the cast look good.
Super Reviewer
June 8, 2009
"I don't know exactly what has taken me so long to see this, but I'm glad I finally did. Thankfully it's streaming on Netflix or it might have been even longer.
The movie is really good with a somewhat great cast. I think if you've seen the movie, or maybe just by looking at the cast, you can see who those 'somewhat' actors are. But the true star of the show is my long time favorite, Kevin Spacey. He makes every role look easy.
The film has a great script. It's smart. The beginning your to believe it's the good vs. evil, then by the end it gets all twisted with a great spin. I had it figured out, because unfortunately, with films today it's hard to not see a twist coming. I'm sure when the film was made and seen, the twist had a much bigger affect on the audience. A great film. I will see it again."
Super Reviewer
½ January 6, 2013
Stylishly made, clever writing, good ending, but a bit overrated. This film's intrigue only somewhat elevates it past the hollow and overly dense narrative.
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2006
One of the best film's of the 90's

Try not to let that raise your expectations too much. That's just my opinion. It also happens to be shared by many others, and for good reason.

This taut suspense thriller is a complex and convoluted tale about a crippled small-time con man named Roger 'Verbal' Kent. Verbal is the only witness and key suspect connected to an explosion on a ship that left 27 men dead, the lone survivor horribly burned, and $91 million worth of cocaine supposedly believed to be on board missing. Biding his time at a police station, Verbal tells Detective Dave Kujan a complex and convoluted tale of how he and four other criminals became involved in the ill-fated ship incident.

The film starts off as a twisty-turny whodunnit, but eventually evolves into so much more. Many people have already spoiled the ending, but I won't. I'll just say it's a genius payoff, and one of the best executed plot twists ever, regardless of the many parodies and imitators.

The film is definitely a love it or hate it sort of deal. It's not really about what you think its about, and I was okay with that. I sometimes really love a movie that screws around with you, makes you think, and delivers something far from conventional. It's very compelling, and I'm very happy that Christopher McQuarrie won an Oscar for his script.

Kevin Spacey won an Oscar for his work as Verbal, and I'm also happy with that decision. He's really awesome, but he's not alone. Backing him up are an all-star cast that include Chazz Palminteri, Dan Hedaya, Pete Postlethwaite, Kevin Pollack, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del Toro, and Stephen Baldwin among others. All of them deliver top notch work, and they seem like they had a really good time working together.

John Ottman's score is wonderful mysterious and atmospheric, his editing is also quite good, there's some excellent cinematography to boot. Just the whole atmosphere, mood, and tone of this movie impress me. Every time I see it, I just get sucked in right from the start and I'm held in awe all the way through.

This film remains Bryan Singer's masterpiece, and I strongly urge you all to check it out.
Super Reviewer
½ October 1, 2010
What this film does so well is get you hooked on each character and hope that each and every story that you are being told is correct. After a boat explosion, chaos at the police stations ensue. All five suspects are called in for questioning, but one Verbal Kint is the one with the "true" story. Throughout the entire film you will scratch your head in wonder of what needs to be taken from each event shown, and it will confuse you, until the very final act where the movie literally has you by-the-balls and makes your mind do a complete 180*. About halfway through I was about ready to just call it another average suspense thriller, but boy was I wrong. By the conclusion, you will be in shock. It is greatly written, strongly acted, and the twists are terrific. "The Usual Suspects" isn't without it's slow and questionable moments, but it's undeniably awesome!
Samuel Riley
Super Reviewer
May 31, 2012
This film should be classed one of the best films of the 1990's. Its a sophisticated definition about the world of crime and corruption. Its based around five suspects who are in a race against time to get even with a very powerful and feared criminal lord. This stunning film focuses on the fantastic Oscar winning performance of Kevin Spacey, who is the most important character of the film. With some unexpecting events that occur, The Usual Suspects is a dark yet successful film, which shall not be easily forgotten.
Super Reviewer
½ April 20, 2011
'The Usual Suspects' is an enthralling experience that just keeps giving. Each actor and their character is potent and fulfilling, with Kevin Spacey providing one of the coolest performances I've ever seen. It is a bit of a slow burn, whose convoluted story may cause the impatient to grow weary, but its all worth it in the end. 'The Usual Suspects' reinvents the crime thriller genre with its elements of neo-noir and the most brilliant twist/ending imaginable. This is potent filmmaking.
Super Reviewer
½ August 25, 2011
The Usual Suspects is an intense gangster film with a great cast. The film has a terrific plot and is never what it seems. This is a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The film is directed by Bryan Singer and is among his best. The cast are terrific here, with great performances from Kevin Spacey (who rightfully earned an Oscar for this role) and Gabriel Byrne. This is a great heist film that like I previously stated will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The plot has numerous plot twists. This is a near perfect crime film. Kevin Spacey is excellent here and Singer has definitely picked a great cast of actors for this film. Other performances of note are Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro and Chazz Palminteri. Bryan Singers has crafted one of the best crime films of the 90's and this is a film to watch if you love films like Pulp Fiction and Heat. This is a film that has a complex plot that will most likely necessitate multiple viewings to really get to the core of its complex plot. One thing is for sure, The Usual Suspects is a film that rivals some of the best of the genre. A brilliantly acted, and plotted film that will keep you on the edge of you seat from beginning to end. Bryan Singer has made his mark in the genre with this stellar film, a definite must see for crime film fans.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
½ October 27, 2011
A great noir film for any fan of good twist and turns. The cast is fantastic with gabriel byrne leading the gang of misfits. Definitely a gem of the 90's!
Super Reviewer
October 6, 2011
Let me speak on this one...Not sure what to say though. One side of me liked it alot. One side thought it was a little overrated. The ending was great...and I had forgotten that it was in this movie. So I got to enjoy that....The story is good. The directing is good. Kevin Spacey get a lot of credit....But I think they all are good...It's a group effort. I think it will be ever better next time I see it. But I definitely recomend it.
Super Reviewer
½ September 24, 2011
So simple, but so sophisticated......great film. Kevin Spacey never disappoints.
Super Reviewer
September 23, 2011
Lacked chemistry among the full cast of bland, unlikeable characters. Exhaustively tedious progression - all for the final 5 minutes. This seed had to be watered a long time before it sprouted, and it felt like a chore. The more I saw of it, the more I didn't want it anyway. I'll just remember my other plant named Reservoir Dogs.
Super Reviewer
½ August 3, 2010
While this film is an iconoclast all to itself, the dark empathy towards the criminal element is just as psychologically thrilling as it is action packed. Lovably hedonistic and cast to the nines, the film is reminiscent of the Thin Man series, while also including gangster ruffians, and downplaying stereotypes of the genre. The main reason why this film differs from most of the genre is that insatiably delicious twist ending, ruined for almost everyone by America's obsession with pop culture references. Still, being led by the nose doesn't make this film better by any means. I myself am a victim of a ruined ending, and the only thing that made it less than ideal was knowing I would never be as wowed by the surprise as any other first time viewer. It might be more understandable in fact, the intricate nature of the plot more excitable when motive is apparent, like a sinister magic trick. Performances by the main five characters include a barely audible del Toro, a madcap gunman from Baldwin, reformed yet roguish Byrne, hackneyed Pollack, and the gimpy, naive Verbal, played by masterful Kevin Spacey. By the way, all the names are so original, I want to pluck them and make them my own invention. The action is thoughtful, but awe inspiring, the dialogue has the right aforethought and tone, and the tangled mess of killing, redemption, and disturbing calculations is that of a political diatribe, but punctuated with all the thrill of a noir. Perfect for a day of mental thought.
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2011
Verbal: The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. 

"The truth is always in the last place you look"

I finally watched The Usual Suspects. I went in with huge expectations, which can sometimes destroy a movie, but this exceeded them and then some. I don't only like the movie for it's twist ending, which I did see coming. Even though the twist was what I expected, it was still really cool and satisfying to see how Bryan Singer pulled everything together at the end. 

The film works because of a great cast of characters. All of the five "Usual Suspects"  are well thought out and are all interesting in their own little way. The Keyser Soze aspect of the movie is really genius. You create a villain that no one has seen and that no one knows is real or not. We hear rumors about what he's done and how far he's willing to go. Then you throw people in who says he's real and people who says he's not. It creates fear for something. Like the devil, not knowing is the scariest thing about him. Kevin Spacey's performance was amazing and his narration is really good and the writing is brilliant. There are a couple of scenes that are just off the charts in how good they turn out.

I am completely in love with this movie. It's one of the few movies where I can't understand why anyone wouldn't like it. It's as entertaining as any movie you can throw out for discussion and it's pretty intelligent. It's not a movie like Speed(which I like), that is extremely entertaining, but really stupid and has endless impossible action sequences that make no sense. 

The Usual Suspects is a new favorite of mine, that I can see myself watching again very soon. Oh and one more time, Kevin Spacey kicked ass in this movie.

Verbal: And like that... he is gone. 
Super Reviewer
June 10, 2011
I found it very difficult to get into this and didn't think the characters and narrative was introduced well enough. I wasn't sure what was going on as it kept flitting between different locations. It wasn't until half way through I realised Spacey was telling a story and we watched the flashbacks. I liked the arc of the movie though and although I guessed the twist, it was a very good and concealed one at that.
Super Reviewer
January 4, 2010
A great example of a movie that is almost too popular for its own good. Now there'd be nothing wrong with that if people enjoyed this for the great film making, cast of characters and story. However, this movie is only remembered for its twist ending and nothing else. Now I am definitely someone who stands by the fact that this movie is a lot better than that. While it's not flawless, it's definitely one of the more interesting ways to go about making a crime movie in a post Pulp Fiction setting. Bryan Singer's first time directing is amazing and feels way more polished and handled with care. While some of the plot points and characters can get too big for their own shoes, the atmosphere of the movie is always done just right.
I used to be a supporter of the fact that this a movie that you can't re-watch and have the same pleasure as you did the first time around. While I still feel this is partially true, it becomes enjoyable on new levels and it's clear how much effort was put into the main plot and twist at the end. It also helps that Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne and Chazz Palminteri are great in their roles. Even though bizarre appearances from Stephen Baldwin and Kevin Pollak don't really work, they do fit the bill as talentless thugs. The Usual Suspects is a very risky movie and I think for the most part it accomplishes everything it sets out to do.
Super Reviewer
½ May 12, 2011
Highly overrated with a "twist ending" that you can see coming from a mile away. The film is intriguing for a while, boasting an excellent cast, with Kevin Spacey obviously being the standout performer.
Despite the ensemble cast, the movie turned out to be rather disappointing. Just one of those films that keep pretending to have far more cards up its sleeve than it actually has. Too many questions being thrown in to the mix, the finale really answers little or less, but audience couldn't care less; because there was'nt any question relevant enough, in the first place.
Super Reviewer
February 28, 2007
One of the best and most talked about twists in cinema history. With an all star cast, the film holds you as the investigation unfolds.

Del Toro seems almost unrecognisable in this earlier role, partly due to the character, but partly how he has changed too.

Great characters, the heist itself wasn't particularly fascinating, but that's where the main focus lies, in all of the distractions.
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