“How do you shoot the devil in the back? What if you miss?”
The Usual Suspects spoon-feeds its audience—and its detective characters—all the information we (and they) need to solve the crime. It’s just that no one’s paying attention.
But try to figure it out and you’ll miss out on the fun.
The story opens yesterday, when an explosion on a boat rocks a pier and kills 27 people. The only two survivors are a badly-burned Hungarian and Verbal Kint, a small-time con man with epilepsy.
In exchange for immunity, Verbal agrees to talk, outlining how he and four other criminals met at a police lineup six weeks earlier and ended up on the boat.
At the center of the story is the shadowy Keyser Söze, a Turkish crime lord. The five meet Kobayashi, Söze’s right-hand man, who tells them that each of them have unknowingly stolen something from Söze in the past, and that in order to avoid repercussions, they must raid a ship and destroy millions of dollars worth of cocaine.
Every performance is stellar and Kevin Spacey’s Best Supporting Actor win well-deserved, but it’s Christopher McQuarrie’s Oscar-winning script that is truly unrivaled. More than just a great crime thriller with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, it’s a masterclass in selective perception. Whether it’s the characters within the film or we as the audience watching events unfold, ultimately, we all see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe.