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The Usual Suspects DVD Cover

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The Usual Suspects

Friday the 21st of November

In a world where nothing is what it seems you've got to look beyond...
--Original tagline

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USA: 1995 -- Directed by Bryan Singer
Written by Christopher McQuarrie
Starring Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, and Benicio Del Toro

A man can convince anyone he's somebody else, but never himself.
--Kevin Spacey as Roger 'Verbal' Kint


Ever since this convoluted thriller dazzled audiences and critics in 1995 and won an Oscar for Christopher McQuarrie's twisting screenplay, The Usual Suspects has continued to divide movie lovers into opposite camps. While a lot of people take great pleasure from the movie's now-famous central mystery (namely, "Who is Keyser Söze?"), others aren't so easily impressed by a movie that's too enamored of its own cleverness to make much sense. After all, what are we to make of a final scene that renders the entire movie obsolete? Half the fun of The Usual Suspects is the debate it provokes and the sheer pleasure of watching its dynamic cast in action, led (or should we say, misled) by Oscar winner Kevin Spacey as the club-footed con man who recounts the saga of enigmatic Hungarian mobster Keyser Söze. Spacey's in a band of thieves that includes Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, and Benicio Del Toro, all gathered in a plot to steal a large shipment of cocaine. The story is told in flashback as a twisted plot being described by Spacey's character to an investigating detective (Chazz Palmintieri), and The Usual Suspects is enjoyable for the way it keeps the viewer guessing right up to its surprise ending. Whether that ending will enhance or extinguish the pleasure is up to each viewer to decide. Even if it ultimately makes little or no sense at all, this is a funny and fiendish thriller, guaranteed to entertain even its vocal detractors.

Hope to see you there. I'll save you an aisle seat and a spot beside me in the line-up.

The Usual Suspects The Usual Suspects

Awards

Won Oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Kevin Spacey and Best Screenplay

Won Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay - Christopher McQuarrie and Best Supporting Male - Benicio Del Toro

Ranks #16 on the Internet Movie Database's Top 250 Movies

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Memorable Quotes

Verbal: What the cops never figured out, and what I know now, was that these men would never break, never lie down, never bend over for anybody. Anybody.

Keaton: His name is Verbal. Verbal Kint.
McManus: Verbal?
Keaton: Yeah.
Verbal: Roger, really. People say I talk too much.
Hockney: Yeah, I was just about to tell you to shut up.

Verbal: Back when I was picking beans in Guatemala, we used to make fresh coffee, right off the trees I mean. That was good. This is shit but, hey, I'm in a police station.

Verbal: The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.

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Trivia

The line-up scene was scripted as a serious scene, but after a full day of filming takes where the actors couldn't keep a straight face, director Bryan Singer decided to use the funniest takes.

When Redfoot flicks his cigarette into the face of McManus it was originally intended to hit his chest, so McManus' reaction is actually Stephen Baldwin's real unscripted reaction that Bryan Singer decided to keep in the movie.

The long-haired Keyser Soze (in the flashback) was played by one of the grips. He was chosen because director Bryan Singer noticed that the man was not able to straighten his elbows, giving him a very surreal and powerful look.

The name of the film's production company (Blue Parrot/Bad Hat Harry Productions) is an inside reference to a line from Jaws (1975), where Brody meets an old guy in a bathing cap on a beach and greets him by saying "That's a bad hat, Harry." The "Blue Parrot" part is a reference to Casablanca (1942), as is the title of the film.

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Goofs

Continuity: Planes landing in New York City from South America would land at JFK, not La Guardia airport. The arriving passenger was picked up at the departure section of the Delta building.

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