USUAL SUSPECTS, THE
Reviewed September 3rd, 2001 by Dan Jones
The Usual Suspects is one of those movies that will leave you in awe after you see it for the first time, which should compel you to see it again and again and again. The movie itself revolves around five characters who meet up in a police lineup and then ban together to form a gang of thieves. Although this sounds like a seemingly simple plot line, there are many other intertwining storylines, the most important of these being the mystery of a “boogeyman like” super criminal, Keyser Söze. Stephen Baldwin, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Pollak, Gabriel Byrne, and Kevin Spacey all turn in fantastic acting jobs; most namely Kevin Spacey who won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.
Most likely, the part of the movie you will remember the most will be the end. Seeing that the end is so twisted, it essentially renders the story you have just seen to be just a figment of the storyteller’s imagination. Because of this, some people have difficulty accepting the movie for what it is. Others find this to be brilliant writing. Understanding how this story is told and worked together so seamlessly is half its greatness.
The Usual Suspects is an older, single layered DVD. Whereas most DVDs now offer dual layer support that allows you to view twice as much information per side, you must flip a single layered disc to view other material. In this case, we get the 2.35:1 widescreen letterbox version on one side, and the standard full screen version on the other side.
The video quality of both the widescreen and full screen versions of the movie is very good. The picture quality is clear and sharp with no real noticeable visual blemishes present. The colors are all very rich and vibrant. As always, with the full frame picture you lose a lot of what is going on, on the sides. Widescreen is definitely recommended.
The sound quality on The Usual Suspects is good. We do not get a 5.1 Dolby Digital track, but the Dolby Surround 2.0 track is strong and does give us an immersive listening experience. Both English and French tracks are available, along with optional Spanish subtitles.
As for extras, The Usual Suspects does not give us too many. We do get audio commentary by director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie. The theatrical trailer is also included and a small behind the scenes booklet. Because this is such a great movie, and that the DVD could use a bit more, a Special Edition might be nice in the future. A 5.1 Dolby Digital track, more commentary and some behind the scenes footage would be great.
In conclusion, The Usual Suspects is a fantastic movie. If you enjoy movies that leave you thinking at the end, then this is one for you. If you enjoy straight ahead no brainer’s, then look elsewhere.
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