Modern Day Film Noir- ‘The Usual Suspects’ review…

‘The Usual Suspects’ is an example of Modern day Film Noir, known as neo-noir films since 1960’s. As i have already seen it I decided to watch it again and refresh my memory. This is what i thought..

WHAT A GENIUS FILM! At first i wasn’t sure about it as its from 1995 but after watching it for the second time I could still watch it again and again. The film was directed by Brian Singer and on box office made an impressive $34.4 million.

It features a group of local criminals known as Dean Keaton portayed by Gabriel Byrne who is an ex criminal trying to turn over a new leaf due to his new lawyer girlfriend. Next is Roger kint a crippled character who tells their unique story throughout the film brought to life by Kevin Spacey. The third of the group is Michael Mcmanus, portrayed by Stephen Baldwin. He’s the local ‘bad boy’ who’s up for any job comes his way! His partner in crime is Fred Fenster brought to us by Benicio Del Toro. He’s iconically known for his wierd accent and adds comedy value to the whole film! The fifth and final member of the group is Todd Hockney portrayed by Kevin Pollak. its all about the money for Todd, if theres something in it for him- he’s in!

The film starts at the end with keaton being shot by a mysterious character we later find out is ‘keysor Soze’ a ruthless man thought to be capable of the worst possible crimes. As the group do one job it leads onto another and they find themselves in California, whilst there a man comes to them called Mr Kobayashi who claims to be Keyser Soze’s right hand man. He gives them a job, one that they are not all likely to come out of alive and claims they have to do it to repay debt’s they unknowingly have got into with Soze. We find all this out as we go back and forward in time to when Kint, as the only survivor is being interviewed by the police. 4 of the 5 then get told by Kobayashi to go to a cliff side spot where they find Freds body, they bury him and realise Soze means business- if they don’t do the job they will all be killed.

They find the job is on a ship and go in guns blazing- Dean Keaton tells Roger to stay behind and to tell his girlfriend he loves her if he doesnt make it. The scene then goes back to the beginning with keaton being killed which was horrible!! Keaton was my favourite character and he gets killed! The police officer listening to Roger tell the story is convinced that Dean Keaton IS Keyser Soze but Roger Kint says he cant be. He gets up and walks out. As the police officer is thinking the story through he spots words on the board behind him- words Roger had used as names for the people in his story! As we see him race out looking for ‘the cripple’ the camera pans round to Roger stretching out his ‘crippled’ hand, standing up straight and lighting a cigarettes. He then gets in the car with Kobayashi. This was a brilliant twist to a brilliant film as he is Keyser Soze. I would give this film 5/5 and although at first i was dubious about watching it i’m so glad I did and would recommend it to anyone!

The film noir elements I particularly noticed was the lighting. the whole way through it is either extremely high key or extremely low key. These are generic conventions of film noir. A big film noir feature the film was missing was a ‘Femme fatale.’ Instead the antagonist was a male character.

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