Throwback Thursday: The Usual Suspects
Throwback Thursday is going to give the opportunity for the writers at 45-Magazine to analyse and review what they consider to be an iconic movie. They will dissect why they have chosen it, why it should be considered a classic and will ultimately look to convince readers to look back and re-watch an eclectic array of superb titles.
Back in 2014, I had an array of iconic films at my disposal. I would saunter into the early evening, grasping a bottle of my favourite cider (below £3, above 2L) before deciding upon a movie from my vast collection of (il)legally downloaded material. I am not ashamed to admit it but I had diligently colour-coded my films into separate folders. Yellow meant that it was an okay, a rather enjoyable watch kept only due to the frankly shallow possibility someone else would like to watch it in the future #GreekMythologyFilmsExcludingTroy. Orange meant I enjoyed the film and would consider watching again if I was feeling sexy #BlackDynamite. Purple signified that I believed the film was extremely good and normally had an underlying message about society that I didn’t quite understand #AllThingsLeonardoDiCaprio. Whilst the Blue Folder simply read “CryYourBallzOff”, consisting of only one film that I cannot talk about without dry retching water droplets out of my eyes.
The Red Folder however, now that was a spectacle. It is believed all the greats have wanted to have a peek inside Jake Gauntlett’s red folder (cannot tell if inappropriate or just evidence of a soiled mind). The Red Folder consisted of the best of the best, films that had directly influenced my life through imitation and emancipation. So what was I supposed to do when my laptop started to fumble through even the simplest of tasks, blaming the storage space as if it was its little adorable cousin that could barely defend itself. There was only one course of action (don’t be pedantic and mention I could have used a hard-drive), I had to whittle down my film collection. First went the Yellows; no one missed them they had a bad attitude to begin with. The Oranges felt more like my mates going travelling, will no doubt see you guys soon. Purple put up a bit of struggle, how was I supposed to unearth all of those hidden culturally significant moral themes? But the Red’s, they felt more akin to Sophie’s Choice.
If Sophie’s Choice was based slightly less on the Holocaust and much closer to the inconsequential murmurs of a University student…
In the end my Adam & Eve (& friends) were chosen, five films to shape the movie repopulation of my laptop. Over the next few months I will run through my five choices, explaining how each film is just so bloody brilliant that I could never bring myself to delete it. But for now I will make do with the first on my list, the 1995 crime thriller, The Usual Suspects.
I never fully understood the true beauty of replay value until I saw this film. Sure I had seen A Bug’s Life enough times to be able to recant the scenes word for word, but what wasn’t to love about a film that really personified the idea of community spirit. It does not matter how many times you view the film because each time you will notice something new, something that gives you that warm feeling inside as if you’re the only person to notice that one thing, false achievement, a beautiful thing.
The plot revolves around five conmen who are thrust together in police custody; together they plot their revenge on the ‘establishment’. Unbeknownst to the conmen, they have all stepped on the toes of legendary criminal overlord Keyser Söze, A BAD MOVE IF YOU ASK ME. Sole survivor Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint retells the convoluted tale about the events that led to a rather large explosion on a rather large boat with rather averagely sized criminals.
The whole cast is a tumble dryer of 90s talent. Kevin Spacey is fantastic; I am talking an acting level only seen before in his all too brief stint as the Orange advert guy. Everyone plays their part and the director Bryan Singer manages to make the film feel every bit how a Hollywood Crime Blockbuster shouldn’t feel and every bit how a Crime-Noir Mindbuckler should. Great move.
I would never ruin the film by revealing the twist. Even by saying there is a twist already sort of ruins the film, as you will be looking for the twist. You probably know the twist. Why wouldn’t you, it has been out for 20 years. Maybe the twist is there is no twist? Twistception? No. There is a twist. The craft comes not in the surprise but the realisation that everything that was said has a purpose, every red herring and every name, deliberate.
The Usual Suspects is iconic in my eyes because it remains unrivalled in craft as a crime thriller with a perfectly manufactured twist, if you are not watching A Bug’s Life then I implore you, indulge into around two hours of adoration and fourteen straight post-film hours of yelling “NO WAY”. More importantly it taught me to never trust anyone, even the guy suffering from cerebral palsy…
We are all too quick to trust people with cerebral palsy.