Movie Review: The Usual Suspects

[ USUAL SUSPECTS POSTER ]Once again, an Alex-proposed movie. Thanks AGAIN, Alex.

The Usual Suspects stars Kevin Spacey as Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint (Kevin Spacey), who is trying to explain to FBI agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) why there are 27 dead people on a pier.

The previous statement doesn’t sound like an exciting or adventurous movie, but it’s better than it sounds. Check out the trailer here.

The movie is slow to start, but if you’re willing to put your right hand in for an extended period of time, not only will you get it back, but there’ll be a cookie, too. The plot becomes an intriguing investigation that puts you in the cockpit seat just as much as it does the actors. You’re involved and entertained, but that’s only after a while of waiting for the engine to rev up. This movie would have been much better if it wouldn’t have taken so long for the movie to get moving. It felt like the writer was trying to write a book: you write a while and the material’s not very good, until you finally get the product you were looking for, hitting the metaphorical “nail on the head”. Then, as a writer, you go back to the beginning section that wasn’t any good and you edit it so that it syncs well with the final passage. Whoever wrote the screenplay for this did no such thing. It comes across as an unedited paper: it’s got a lot of promise and upside, but there’s quite a few problems with it, problems that could have easily been corrected or fixed had the writer just gone back and done some simple editing and revising instead of turning in a first draft as the final product. Of course, when Bryan Singer is directing, I should have expected as much.

Kevin Spacey delivers a great performance in this just as he does in most movies I’ve seen him in and so does Chazz Palminteri as agent Dave Kujan. Without these two, the movie suffers. The subplot that the writers try to create with Keaton and his lawyer/girlfriend doesn’t work, and the other three characters, Fenster, McManus, and Hockney, are there as “other people”, not people who add to a story like a supporting cast is supposed to do. While a supporting cast is supposed to support, this one preferred to sit around and wait until someone interacted with them before doing anything even remotely relevant and that’s pushing it. Kevin Spacey does an amazing job telling the character’s story, but it would have been a lot better if I had held a sincere care for who he was talking about rather than a “oh, well sucks to be that guy” attitude whenever something didn’t go their way.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Iron Man 3World War Z42Just Go With It)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Man of SteelMonster-In-LawWhite House DownJobsThe Truman Show)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The WolverineJagged EdgeElysiumShaun of the Dead, Sharknado)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss Goodnight)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (After EarthRoad to PerditionTotal RecallDodgeball: A True Underdog StoryAlong Came Polly)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot GamesThe Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlien)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All Fears)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight CowboyDark Fury)

My score for The Usual Suspects: 75.

The plot is simply too slow to start off with and had I been watching it on TV from the beginning and I wasn’t planning on writing a movie review on it, I can’t say for certain that I would have finished watching it. The third act is definitely the best part though, so try not to get discouraged by the slow pace.


I didn’t believe I had ever seen this movie before but in the middle of the third act I realized I had seen this movie before because I remembered how this movie ended. The movie really ends with a boom. It’s a shame the rest of the movie couldn’t be that way.


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2 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Usual Suspects

  1. movieandtvbuff says:

    Sorry can’t take you serious when you have Iron Man 3 on top of The Truman Show.

    • I don’t understand why everyone hated Iron Man 3. If you’re one of those people who hate it simply because it doesn’t go along with the comic books, I’m not sure I can take you seriously. If you wanted to hear the story of Iron Man retold word-for-word like the comic books, then read the comic books. I also would hope you would be reasonable enough to read the reviews and then critique me, not just look at the way I scored them and assume that I’m an idiot. We’re all entitled to our opinions.

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