The Usual Suspects [1995]

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof, he’s gone.” 

Directed by: Bryan Singer
Written by: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, Benicio del Toro, Pete Postlethwaite.

Movies that feature big plot twists (and few have twists as big as the one in The Usual Suspects) tend to lose their replay value after that great first watch. Sure, you pick up on a few (sometimes pretty obvious) clues scattered throughout the first and second act, but the payoff at the end is gone.

That’s what I discovered earlier this week when I revisited this 1995 neo-noir thriller. It’s a fantastic movie, of course, but it’ll never feel as amazing as that first time. In a weird way, the awesomeness of its finale ruined the film for me, forever.

I can still appreciate its beauty, though: the phenomenal script by Christopher McQuarrie, backed by the assured, stylish direction from Bryan Singer (before his career started to go downhill); the score. The cast is hit and miss, but mostly the former, thankfully. Baldwin, Byrne, Pollak, Palminteri and Postlethwaite deserve praise for their work, while usually stellar Del Toro achieves a career low with his cringe-worthy “Fenster”. The star of the film is Kevin Spacey, in a genius performance that carries the movie and garnered the actor his first Academy Award.