Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Canon Movie Review: The Usual Suspects

Today I am going to review one of Roger Ebert's most hated movies and one of my favorite movies, The Usual Suspects. Yes, Roger Ebert dislikes this movie so much that he has it on his most hated list along with such movies as Battlefield Earth and Freddy Got Fingered. Anyway, The Usual Suspects was produced in 1995, was directed by Bryan Singer, and its screenplay was written by Christopher McQuarrie. The movie stars Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollak, Benicio Del Toro, and Stephen Baldwin. The movie was nominated and won two Academy Awards, one for McQuarrie for best original screenplay, and one for Spacey for best supporting actor. A few thoughts about this movie, and yes there will be spoilers so if you haven't seen the movie, than stop reading now. Also, if you haven't seen the movie, than stop reading and watch it right now.



- You may find this hard to believe, considering he mainly shows up in reality shows like "Celebrity Apprentice" and "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here", but Stephen Baldwin did an excellent job of playing the wise-cracking thief McManus in this film. Other than Spacey and Byrne, Baldwin had the strongest peformance in the film, and this film was full of strong performances.
- One of the more interesting performances was that of Benicio Del Toro, who played McManus's long time partner Finster. Del Toro decided to speak every line with a nearly unintelligible voice that made it hard to understand what he has saying. According to Del Toro, since Finster was ultimately a throwaway character, it wouldn't matter what he said, which is why he decided to portray Finster in that matter. The result is that viewers of this movie definitely remember Finster and his crazy accent, so what was a throwaway character, so to speak, becomes one of the more interesting aspects of the film.
- Even though Kevin Spacey won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, I find it hard to believe that he would even be considered a supporting actor. After all, Spacey's character, Verbal Kint, is the person narrating the story and the person who is the main focal point of the plot, so even though his performance was certainly Oscar Worthy, I wouldn't neccesarily call him a supporting actor. Just a thought.
- Spacey did an excellent job as Verbal, no doubt, but to me the strongest performance in the film was turned in by Gabriel Byrne, as Dean Keaton, a disgraced ex-cop who is trying to lead a straight and narrow life, but whose past always ends up catching up to him. Byrne played that role perfectly, and I could not imagine anyone playing that role any better, which I couldn't say about a lot of the other roles in this movie. And yet, Byrne actually turned this role down on more than one occasion, in part due to his feeling that the director couldn't pull off this type of movie, before finally agreeing to take the part. It's a good thing he did, because if nearly anybody else takes the role of Keaton, than this movie is not nearly as good as it is.
- More casting issues, the part of special agent Dave Kujan was written with Chazz Palminteri in mind. While Palminteri eventually took the part, at first he was unavailable due to schedule conflicts , and the part instead was offered to Robert DeNiro, Christopher Walken, and Al Pacino, who all turned it down. While Palminteri eventually found exactly one week to do the part and did an excellent job, it is interesting to wonder just how DeNiro, Walken, and Pacino would have portrayed the role of Kujan.
- Because of the huge twist at the end of the movie, there are a few people that have seen the movie that dislike the movie because it's kind of hard to tell just how much of the events portrayed in the movie really took place, so to speak. While I can see their point, as the twist does somewhat muddle things, to me the big twist in the end actually makes this a better film, as it brings things whole circle and the various actions and reactions in that final scene are done perfectly.

Overall, this is probably one of my five favorite films of all time. I could see this film once a week for the rest of my life and not tire of the film. The acting is top-notch, the script is just about perfect, the score of the film really adds a lot to the film, and the film held my interest from beginning to end. There were probably a couple of things that could have been improved, but overall it's as close to a perfect movie as you can get. I'll give it a 9.83 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this post, or ideas for future reviews, than share those thoughts and ideas either by leaving a comment on the blog or by sending me an e-mail at kthec2001@gmail.com.

9 comments:

  1. WHAT?? I can't believe Ebert hates this movie! He's dumb!! That movie is great!

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  2. Well, that's his opinion. I don't think he's dumb for having that opinion, I just happen to vehemently disagree with his view on the movie.

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