Some consider Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects neo-noir the pulp fiction of the ’90s. While inevitable comparisons were made between Singer’s twisty mystery and Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 Cannes winner, Singer seems to have borrowed from Hitchcock, Scorsese, and any number of other grandmasters of cinema to craft a complex thriller steeped in atmosphere and seething with evil.
”Who is Keyser Söze?” is the movie’s central mystery, and it’s Kevin Spacey’s magnificent turn as Verbal Kint — the disabled fast-talker who weaves the tale of five felons (played by Gabriel Byrne, Spacey, Kevin Pollak, Benicio Del Toro, and Stephen Baldwin) and their bloody fates at the hands of Söze — that frames the story. And ”Suspects” is Spacey’s show: He uses words to provoke distrust, and the flickers of fear dancing in his stoolie eyes keep us riveted as the plot skips along. It’s no surprise ”Suspects” won him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and also won Christopher McQuarrie an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
The disc includes deleted scenes, four featurettes, and wonderfully lively scene-specific commentary by Singer and McQuarrie: The two offer playful and oft-revealing banter, as well as clues like the Hungarian translation for the name Söze; know that and the entire movie is gravy.