Whenever I told people I have never seen The Usual Suspects I was constantly met with moans and groans about how “it’s one of the greatest movies of all time” and how “the ending is amazing” so finally I caved and watched it. I liked it.
First to note is that I genuinely tried to watch this movie about a month and a half ago and I thought it was boring as shit. The plot was confusing at first but also very slow with no sense of suspense. My first impressions had me tired and bored.
Then I finally went all in with this movie. I replayed sequences and forced myself to delve deep into the plot and storylines. I immersed myself in what was going on and I found myself happily rewarded. Overall this movie is very good but lacks in certain areas.
I can understand the hype but at the same time I feel like this movie suffers from what I like to call the “Up-effect” in which a certain aspect of the movie that’s good muddles the actual experience of the movie. In Up, people love the beginning when the rest is mediocre. In The Usual Suspects people love the end when the rest is good but not great.
To start, my initial problems with the movie still hold. This move is very slow and confusing and it takes time to realize all the ins and outs of what is going on mostly because the crimes seem trivial and irrelevant. The overall drug bust through line has stakes that just don’t seem that high. The whole investigation process seems tedious because as an audience member I really don’t care about the crime. Moreover, The relationship Keaton has with his wife is not that powerful or impactful and im not even sure if it was necessary or even real. Like did it even exist honestly? This movie has no scary bad guy and I think doesn’t know if it wants to be mysterious or confusing. I don’t know if I should care about any of them by the end of it because I’m not even sure who existed or what actually happened. Like if Redfoot didn’t even exist then did any of that storyline even exist? What did I even just watch then? See that’s more frustrating than clever, and it makes the ending more of a cop out.
I think that on re-watching this movie could be even better as one could notice the devious things Soze does to manipulate the plot as a narrator and as an instigator.
I think that if the stakes were higher, this movie would be better. There are no ethical dilemmas but rather crime and mob and drug disputes that didn’t strike me to more core.
The performances in this movie are top notch though. Each character is well fleshed out but I also feel like each isn’t given his due. Obviously Kevin Spacey is fantastic and steals the show and makes this movie the hit that it is. Another problem I had was the team building aspect of this movie. Seeing the big names and the lineup on the movie poster, I was expecting a sold team to come together and grow off of each other. I wanted to care more about the other characters and get more into a team aspect that I felt like I never got. I wanted to buy these guys coming together and face an emotional problem but instead they were just kinda thrown together and forced to interact. I wanted to see a team destroyed by an inner manipulator but all I got was a watered down group of guys.
Overall I like this movie a lot, but my expectations were a little too high I think going into it. The plot was great but not fantastic. The intense finale was actually fantastic but is muddled by a plot that does not bring the gravitas I thought it would. It’s no Se7en is basically what I am saying.