The Usual Suspects – Bryan Singer (1995)

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I saw this film in the time it was just out and very, very hip. This is one of the early films with a ‘difficult script’, one that left the viewer to puzzle out what is what. In the same year “Se7en” was released, another such classic. “Se7en” is much darker and actually launched the popular serial-killer-thriller genre, but “The Usual Suspects” is more a predecessor of puzzle films such as “Memento” (2000) or “The Prestige” (2006).

I remember a friend of mine had figured out “The Usual Suspects” before it was over. Usually that was me I ‘predicted’ the end of “Se7en” and got very annoyed by “The Sixth Sense” since I already got the clue before the film was halfway (and I disliked it).

Now that of course I had known the ‘secret’ of “The Usual Suspects” for a couple of decades, I still highly enjoyed the film. I do not remember if I have seen it again after the first time, but I did remember most of the film. It was cool to see how clues to the ‘surprise’ are woven into the entire film. Other than that the star-cast is great, the filming good and the flashbacks moody.

I do not suppose I have to say anything about the story or are there readers who do not know this classic? Oh well. When a truck with weapons disappears, the police knows nothing better to do than lining up four known criminals and a small crook. They are ‘the usual suspects’. Put in a cell together, the five forge a plan for an easy job which they execute together. Soon it becomes clear that they all had their missteps with a high ranking and (half) mythical criminal called “Keyser Söze” who forces them to do another job to redeem their crimes. This job goes very wrong and the sole survivor retells the events. Not exactly how they went though…

A great script, even when you know the conclusion, and a generally wonderful film to (re)watch some day.

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