The Usual Suspects (1995) captivated audiences, a heist thriller with a dazzling twist in the tail. Directed by Bryan Singer, the film won Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay (Christopher McQuarrie) and Best Supporting Actor (Kevin Spacey). Co-starring with Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Chazz Palminteri and Pete Postlethwaite, Spacey plays Verbal Kint, one of a group of talented thieves whose high-stakes operation puts them in confrontation with a mastermind personification of evil – Keyser Soze.
Time has seen The Usual Suspects’ reputation grow and it’s now a major cult movie. But critical views were mixed when the film was first released. Ernest Larsen takes this critical resistance as his starting point. In a wide-ranging study Larsen examines the film’s sophisticated narrative structure and the new spin it puts on older genre conventions and themes. The upshot is a fascinating account of a film whose technical accomplishment and fine ensemble acting have made it an undisputed modern classic of American cinema.