Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Usual Suspects (1995) Film Review Bryan Singer

The Usual Suspects (1995) Film Review Bryan Singer

Figure 1   

The Usual Suspects is a Crime/Thriller film directed by Bryan Singer in 1995. The plot revolves around a group of 5 criminals finding themselves in trouble with the infamous Keyser Soze; a mastermind criminal feared by everyone.
The films story is narrated by Kevin Spacey's character Roger 'Verbal' Kint, a handicapped nerd who doesn't seem to be the type to be involved in crime, as he is interrogated by a police officer about a boat explosion. This allows Singer to create his scene construction in an interesting way to keep the audience wanting to find out more about the explosion through flashbacks and memories of Verbal. Travers says "shifting points of view add up to a film of hypnotic and haunting resonance." (Travers, 1995). In the films intro we are shown a shot of what looks like a bunch of dock equipment and items, however we are not given an explanation as to why we are seeing this which leaves us guessing at what it could mean and if there's something hidden behind. This then makes the audience want to continue watching the film to find out what that particular shot meant, seen in Figure 2. 

Figure 2   

As we watch the film we listen intently to Verbals narration to figure out who is the mysterious Keyser Soze "allowing one to review the events unravelled within the film's elaborate narrative" (Nathan, s.d.). As Verbal seems to be the main character of the film due to his narration and him being interrogated by the police the audience automatically rules him out as being Soze. This then makes us naturally suspect every other character in the film, mainly Gabriel Byrne's character Dean Keaton. When in fact the person least likely you to expect to be the feared criminal is revealed. 

Figure 3   

Verbal's misleading narration and storytelling only creates a larger shock when the identity Soze is finally discovered. "The story builds up to a blinding revelation, which shifts the nature of all that has gone before" (Ebert, 1995). Throughout the film we believe every word Verbal recalls and everything we see, not once questioning whether or not it may be truth. Not only did Verbal trick every character in the film about his identity, he also tricked every audience member watching the film.


Ebert, R (1995) The Usual Suspects Film Review http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-usual-suspects-1995 (Accessed 01/04/14)

Nathan, I (s.d.) The Usual Suspects Film Review http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=132353 (Accessed 01/04/14)

Travers, P (1995) The Usual Suspects Film Review http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/the-usual-suspects-19950816 (Accessed 01/04/14)


Figure 1, The Usual Suspects (1995) Bryan Singer [Film Poster] USA, Polygram Filmed Entertainment http://neteaser.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/the-usual-suspects-1995-poster.jpg (Accessed 01/04/14)

Figure 2, The Usual Suspects (1995) Bryan Singer [Film Still] USA, Polygram Filmed Entertainment https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-m3Xg4QkN8zw/TY5ubDp1BeI/AAAAAAAAa1k/oW97ssCnCdg/s1600/01.jpg (Accessed 01/04/14)

Figure 3, The Usual Suspects (1995) Bryan Singer [Film Still] USA, Polygram Filmed Entertainment http://www.drivingmrspacey.com/Verbalmoviemarket.jpg (Accessed 01/04/14)