Friday, May 05, 2006

THE USUAL SUSPECTS MOVIE REVIEW


CAST: GABRIEL BYRNE, KEVIN SPACEY, KEVIN POLLACK, STEPHEN BALDWIN, BENICIO DEL TORO, CHAZZ PALMINTERI
DIRECTOR: BRYAN SINGER
RUN TIME: 110 min.
RATING: ***** (MASTERPIECE)
GENRE: THRILLER, SUSPENSE, ACTION, CRIME, FILM NOIR

THE USUAL SUPSECTS is one mind-bending gem of a thrilling masterpiece whose suspense I rate with the very best. This movie has given us one of the most famous characters of all time- Keyser Soze. The movie is so damn intelligent that it is scary. It is a maze of really complex and it demands our complete attention for the whole running time. I got to admit that I have watched this movie over and over again just to find a loophole. And I haven’t succeeded. The plot is one of the most complex I have ever come across and it is more so because of the intelligent screenplay. In fact it is one of those movies that demand a second viewing.
The movie starts off with Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne) lying wounded on a boat. A mysterious figure by the name of Keyser Soze comes and shoots him.
It then moves to the District Attorney’s office from where we come to know that a boat supposedly containing $90 million worth of cocaine exploded killing close to 25 men. There are two survivors to the accident-one Hungarian lying in a local hospital in a coma and the other a cripple by the name of Verbal Kint who is in the District Attorney’s office. And a certain name pops up, Keyser Soze. What happened that night and who is Keyser Soze is the question?
I would not divulge any more of the plot as it would positively spoil the experience of watching such an intelligent movie.
The performances are brilliant.
Kevin Spacey as Verbal Kint is masterful as always. He brings a cowardly aspect to Kint that few actors can bring so convincingly on the screen. Kevin spacey is the best actor today in Hollywood alongwith Tom Hanks and that shows. There is just the slightest touch of Spacey in his characters. Otherwise it is all the character.
Gabriel Byrne as Dean Keaton is stylish and commanding. He exudes this sense of authority that he seems to be a natural leader. His Keaton is brooding and smoky. And he is a powerhouse when it comes to the job.
Stephen Baldwin as McManus is quite good. He is quite menacing in his portrayal of his character.
Kevin Pollack as Hockney is wonderful. His portrayal of Hockney is so nonchalant that it is fun.
But the real pick is Benicio Del Toro mumbling his lines. His turn in the voice line up and his “flip ya for real” are incredibly enjoyable. He is a great actor, probably the best character actor around. Del Toro is one of those gifted actors whose eyes do a lot of talking. It always seems that there is so much inside him. Even if he just stands before the camera it works. And it is this sort of characteristics, as in his Fenster that he brings to the role that makes him a cut above the rest.

Chazz Palminteri is quite adequate as agent Kujan who is after Dean Keaton. I heard they were planning for Al Pacino to play the part. That would have been far better as he suited for this sort of role. Palminteri gets a little wooden at times. But he is still good.
Pete Postlethwaite as Kobayashi is menacing. His careful pronunciation of every word is a delight.
One of the most pleasing aspects of a movie is when the performances in the movie are good. There is absolutely nothing that can compare to the sheer delight at actors perform greatly and enjoy that too. No amount of special effects or spectacular car chases can beat that. And it is a pleasure to watch these actors perform with each other. It is quite visible on the screen that they are enjoying themselves.
But the movies winners are director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie. They have written and made a film that takes for granted that its audiences are intelligent. Sometimes it seems that they have overestimated our intelligence. They have created such a complex maze of events that it sure gets confusing at times. If one loses his concentration even for one minute he is going to lose the plot. Isn’t that such a wonderful and refreshing thing to here when there is little or no plot in most movies?
It seems that Bryan Singer deliberately kept the emotional tone of the film to a minimal level so that the audiences watch the movie with their brains. And it sure does challenge our intelligence. It has got to be one of the best plots and screenplays ever written.
But it is not just the plot or the twist ending or the screenplay that are the only strong points on the part of the team. The movie is incredibly stylish. It is stylish in the Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson mould. The atmosphere is brooding. This movie is one of the best noirish tales ever told. It is shame that the film noir genre is not being exploited more often. This genre has given us some of the greatest movies and this sure is in line.
On a higher level this movie like RASHOMON questions the nature of the truth itself. In RASHOMON you are questioning the truth during the movie. But in THE USUAL SUPSECTS you are doing that while you are going back to your home and the next day when you keep putting together the pieces of the puzzle. You will ask yourself even after the second time you watch it “How much of that is true and how much is fictitious?” . In fact this movie not only demands a second viewing but repeated viewings. And i bet that your perception of what is the truth will keep changing.
Isn’t that wonderful. A movie that is incredibly enjoyable, stylish, wonderfully acted and most notably makes you think. How many movies are there those do all that?
THE USUAL SUPSECTS is one of the most brilliant movies I have ever had the pleasure of watching. You will seldom get more brains in a single movie than this. And I would bet that you are going to watch this movie again and again.
And one more thing. It has got one of the best movie posters ever. Attitude and style.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to where you belong!
jha

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