Directed by Bryan Singer and released in August 1995, “The Usual Suspects” leaves people shocked and speechless even 25 years after its release. Through Christopher McQuarrie’s complex dialogue, Singer’s attention to detail and Kevin Spacey’s phenomenal acting, this film creates an alternate reality worth watching.
At the beginning of the film, the opening scenes do not hesitate when it comes to complex dialogue. To create an interesting plot, the dialogue starts off elaborate and continues to build, forming an intertwining story. That being said, the beginning can be hard to get into, but it will pay off in the end.
The dialogue not only creates an exceptional story, but also the attentiveness that accompanies each scene through props, costume design and the blocking. The plot is compiled together through different scenes that are set in an irregular pattern. The film starts off by showing the end of the story then flashes back to six weeks earlier in New York City. The entire story is narrated by Spacey displaying different events leading up to the ultimate surprise. While Spacey narrates, the props and costume design intensify the story by breathing life into each scene. Cigarettes, coffee mugs and the landscape of 90s New York City allow the plot to flourish.
The locations for each of the scenes also plays a significant role in making the film as atmospheric as it is. Locations such as a commercial boat, jail cell, interrogation room and many others that create the foundation for the complex dialogue and are intensified by distinct props.
Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin and Benicio Del Toro bring some pretty decent performances to the table which can be considered exceptional, but the career-defining performance was Spacey. Each of the characters throughout the film has different personalities that wear their individuality proudly, more specifically Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Fred Fenster (Benicio del Toro), Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) and Roger Kint (Kevin Spacey). The different personalities between the characters clash and bond throughout the movie, but this makes the plot more interesting and fun to follow. Each of the actors plays their characters really well, and the costume design for each modifies their differences in personality. Baldwin portrays the “bad boy,” Byrne the “businessman,” Spacey the “mastermind,” Del Toro the “jokester,” and finally Palminteri the “careful contributor.” The phenomenal acting and amazing costume design for each of their personalities not only make the plot better, but grab the attention of those watching it.
The initial idea of this film had a lot of potential, and Bryan Singer and his crew did not disappoint. The thought and time put into creating this film paid off with the final product. The dialogue, attentiveness and acting performances construct a well entertaining film that everybody should have on their watch list.