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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sometimes I define a movie as a classic because I simply cannot turn it off when I am flipping through the channels and I see that it is on. This covers a lot of movies, so we will have plenty to talk about until the drive-in reopens in April. The Usual Suspects is one of those movies and I think it is safe to call it a classic, for a lot of other reasons as well.

I used to wonder why I loved this movie so much and then, as I was watching House Of Cards, it occurred to me that Kevin Spacey is just an excellent actor. If you have never seen The Usual Suspects, I promise not to ruin it for you in this review. If you have seen The Usual Suspects, then be a pal and don’t ruin it for those who haven’t seen it yet.

What I will say is that director Bryan Singer succeeds in creating twists in a movie where M. Night Shamamalamadingdong fails so miserably. The thing you do not realize when you watch the movie for the first time is that you are actually watching three or four stories intertwined as they all race towards the same conclusion. This movie not only has some great acting, but it is also extremely well-made.

By all rights, the viewer should be completely lost 10 minutes into this movie. There are so many levels to the plot that all happen at different points in time that it should be completely confusing. But this movie is all about timing and it works its way through all of its story lines so well that you really never lose track of what is going on.

This is one of those Inception movies that has a flashback, inside of a flashback, inside of a flashback. The difference between this movie and Inception is that The Usual Suspects is a good movie. The timeframe never gets twisted and it is actually pretty easy to follow all of the separate storylines, which is probably what makes the ending so effective.

It is hard to do a review of a movie like this without giving important plot elements away, but I can tell you that the ending hits you like a sledgehammer. By the time the credits are rolling, your mind is feverishly trying to remember elements of the movie so you can determine what was supposed to be real and what was actually fake.

If I have any complaints about this movie it is that there are times when it almost gives itself away and ruins everything. Of course, it is always easier to find those moments after you have seen The Usual Suspects for the first time, but they are there and they are actually pretty glaring if you know what to look for.

But maybe that is just one more reason why this is such a great movie. Even when the film tries desperately to give you the answers, you are so wrapped up in what is going on that you aren’t able to put the clues together.

One of the things I like about The Usual Suspects is that even when you know what is coming and you know what the ending is, you can still watch this movie over and over again and enjoy it. But this is definitely one of those movies that stays with you for quite a while after you have seen it for the first time. I was still trying to digest this movie days after I saw it for the first time and realized that I needed to see it again to really appreciate it.

If you have not seen The Usual Suspects, then take the time to watch it because you will not be disappointed. If you have seen it, then watch it with someone who has not seen it just to see their reaction. That can be fun as well. Just be sure that you don’t ruin the ending or else Keyser Soze will burn your house to the ground. At least, that is the story that I heard.

George N Root III is a drive-in movie fanatic and loves movie surprises. He reviews a new movie every week just to help kill time until the drive-in reopens.

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