Sunday, 13 September 2015

"The Usual Suspects" (1995)



This film is class!

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist," – words uttered by con-man Verbal Kint, as he refers to the enigmatic criminal, Keyser Soze. Throughout the film Verbal attempts to convince the police that the mythic Keyser Soze not only exists, but is also responsible for drawing Verbal and his four partners into a multi-million dollar heist that ended with an explosion in San Pedro Harbor leaving few survivors. The question is - Who is Keyser Soze? Directed by Bryan Singer, written by Christopher McQuarrie, and starring Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Chazz Palminteri and Pete Postlethwaite. 

I loved this film more than I initially thought I would. The first time I watched it I found it quite confusing between the complexity of the plot, and all the different names of characters being mentioned because they’re all quite ‘different’ names. But it’s so good! Apparently it all started with an idea from a movie poster of five of men in a line-up. So with a budget of $6 million, and over a shooting period of just 35 days, “The Usual Suspects” was born.


My favourite characters are probably Fenster (Benicio Del Toro) and Verbal. I love Kevin Spacey’s narration and he’s just an unreal actor. Apparently to make his disability seem more realistic, he glued his fingers on his left hand together, as well as filing down his shoes to make them look worn by his character's limp. But I just find Benicio Del Toro’s acting as Fenster hilarious. His unusual and slightly bizarre choice of dialect for his character was so unintelligible that the cast were encouraged to adlib reactions. Apparently Stephen Baldwin actually forgot his cue during one scene because he was unable to understand what Benicio Del Toro had said! And it's funny because his character wasn't written to have such an unintelligible dialect, it was Benicio Del Toro's choice for his character. It really makes the film though, I think.

The line-up scene was apparently originally written to be a serious scene. However the actors were laughing and messing around so much that director Bryan Singer had to put one of these versions in. – Just goes to show what editing can do! Blame supposedly lies with Benicio Del Toro's flatulence. You can see Gabrial Byrne smothering a laugh in the middle of the scene. I like this version better though. I don’t think it would have worked as well being serious because it shows the characters bonding, which is important for the scenes to come! But again, Benicio Del Toro’s delivery of his lines in this scene are just priceless. If I had to pick a favourite scene from the movie this is probably it.


The scene when they're all talking in the jail cell after the line-up is pretty funny too. I love Fenster's rambling in the beginning and again, the delivery of his lines are just priceless.


After Gabriel Byrne agreed to star in the film, he then backed out suddenly due to personal problems. The filming crew agreed to make the film in Los Angeles in just five weeks so that he could do it! Their effort was well worth it though because he's brilliant as Keaton. I'd heard his name before but had never seen him in anything until watching this film.

I think the film is considered to have one of the biggest twists of all time. It is pretty huge. The first time I watched it I had to read the plot on Wikipedia straight afterwards because I didn’t really believe it and had to make sure I was hearing it right!! Looking back at the clues it’s very well written. They’re all there but not obvious even when you watch it again. I love that.

The inspiration for the character of Keyser Soze was a real-life murderer by the name of John List, who murdered his family and then disappeared for 17 years. Lovely. They show the scene in the film when Keyser Soze’s family are murdered. I didn’t care for it. But it’s not really graphic…as such, because of the way it’s edited. I thought it was kind of clever. There’s another shot later on too actually after Keaton (Gabriel Byrne) has been talking to one of Keyser Soze’s associates that I really liked. Keaton is looking through the room the associate has entered and his reflection in the opposite window is revealed once someone’s shadow appears on the window. I don’t know if that description makes any sense to people but if you watch the film sometime you’ll know what I mean. I just thought it was cool; different.


The F-word is used 98 times throughout the film apparently. I would well believe that. Neither Bryan Singer nor Christopher McQuarrie realized that the film's famous line, "the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist", was actually a quote from French poet Baudelaire. The interrogation scenes were shot over a period of five days before the rest of the film.

This is such a great movie! You absolutely need to check it out! It’s one of the better ones for sure! 


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