peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 07 10 TheUsualSuspects

The Usual Suspects (1995)

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nth time around with this mid-1990s classic as the plot never sticks. I watched it more critically this time, and I think the central flaw is that the reenactment scenes present no unitary viewpoint: it's a composite of some kind, and therefore a view from nowhere. (In comparison Fincher's Fight Club and Gone Girl eventually let us know whose story we're being shown and how it relates to the others.) It's just not as clever as it needed to be; perhaps the idea was to seed endless arguments.

Bryan Singer directed. Christopher McQuarrie wrote the screenplay and got an Oscar. I just listened to him being interviewed by Jason Di Rosso about his Mission Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part I work. This may have been Gabriel Byrne's finest role. Giancarlo Esposito, so young. Benicio Del Toro stole all his scenes. Kevin Spacey doing some of his finest work. And so on.

Now #43 in the IMDB top-250. Roger Ebert: one-and-a-half stars. It's all audience manipulation. Surely it can't be (just) his version. Janet Maslin: that year's Reservoir Dogs.