The Usual Suspects (1995)
Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Spacey, Chazz Palminteri, Peter Postlethwaite
Synopsis: Police investigating an exploded boat on a San Pedro pier discover 27 bodies and $91 million worth of drug money. The only survivors are a severely burned and very scared Hungarian terrorist and Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey), a crippled con-man. Kint is questioned by US customs agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri), who forces him to tell the whole story from square one. Kint begins with him being put in a pine up with four other common criminals McManus (Stephen Baldwin), Fenster (Benicio Del Toro), Hockney (Kevin Pollak), and Keaton (Gabriel Byrne) over a truck full of weapons that was hijacked. None of them are guilty but the cops try to pin it on them anyways so they decide to take revenge by attacking an illegal taxi service NYPD officers were running for mobsters. They are later recruited a Mr. Kobayashi (Peter Postlethwaite), who is the lawyer for Keyser Söze a powerful crime lord whom each man has wronged at one point or another and it was time to pay up. When Fenster tries to flee he is later found dead and it becomes clear to the others that in order to get out of this alive they will have to do what Söze wants. This eventually leads them back to the boat where Söze kills everyone there including Keaton. Kujan isn’t convinced that Kint is telling the truth and now has to prove that he is lying before he is let out on bail and he is never seen again.
Trivia: Al Pacino also read the part of Dave Kujan, but had to pass due to scheduling conflicts. Pacino has since noted that this is the film he regrets turning down the most. Verbal Kint says “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing man he didn’t exist”. This quote from the French poet Charles Baudelaire also appears in End of Days, also featuring Gabriel Byrne and Kevin Pollak. All the actors were encouraged to ad lib perplexed reactions to Benicio Del Toro’s oddball vocal stylings.
Why I think you should see this: Besides having the greatest twist ending of all time this is a damn good film. I just love the whole premise of a group of cons that are regularly brought in for questioning team together for a big score. Kevin Spacey has never been better than as Verbal Kint the narrator of the film and Gabrielle Byrne does a great job too. Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie deserve most of the credit for Singer’s super steady direction and McQuarrie’s rock solid script. Check this one out sometime it’s a real gem.