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Gabriel Byrne ; Kevin Spacey ; Stephen Baldwin ; Kevin Pollak ; Benicio Del Toro ; Chazz Palminteri ; Suzy Amis ; Giancarlo Esposito ; Pete Postlethwaite

Directed by Bryan Singer

Written by Chris McQuarrie

The Usual Suspects - SE DVD

God, I love my DVD player. How did we ever manage with ‘Good Old VHS’? No Directors Commentaries, No Trailers or Featurettes, No Hidden Easter Eggs…..

  And its discs like this that make the move to DVD even more imperative if you are a true movie fan. This release allows you not only to experience the movie in glorious digital perfection (something the old R1 or R2 versions didn’t, with their non-anamorphic transfers) but also allows you to get into the minds of the director and the screenwriter thanks to the exhaustive extra features. 

But first, the movie itself – The plot is famously labyrinthine, this isn’t a movie to nip to nip out for a cuppa in the middle of! A boat explodes off the San Pedro coast. The only survivors are a severely burnt terrorist and Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey), a crippled two-bit con-artist. In return for police immunity, Kint is coerced into explaining events leading up to the explosion. His story begins weeks earlier with five criminals of varying levels of notoriety, who are arrested and questioned by police about a truck hijacking. Apart from giving the film it’s classic ‘line up’ poster, this also allows the group to cook up a job to exact a little revenge on the police. However, it soon becomes clear that maybe these people weren’t thrown together by coincidence and that forces a being controlled by a very dangerous and very powerful criminal force.

  The performances are uniformly first class. Aside from the Oscar-winning turn by Spacey, Bryan Singer even manages to make Stephen Baldwin look good in his role as McManus, one of the gang. Benicio Del Toro turns in an outrageously over-the-top role as Fenster, an almost unintelligible Latino. Kevin Pollack, a former stand-up comedian, is perfect as Hockney – a laconic career criminal, waiting for his one big job that will set him up for life. Rounding out the suspects, we have Gabriel Byrne, who tries his very best Humphrey Bogart impression as Dean Keaton a corrupt ex-cop who just can’t seem to go straight…


Where to start? Now this is how you put together a truly 'Special Edition' DVD:

  • "Keyser Soze: Lie Or Legend" - Featurette
  • "Round Up - Deposing The Usual Suspects": Pursuing The Usual Suspects, Doin' Time With The Usual Suspects
  • Bryan Singer's Gag Reel
  • Deleted Scenes - Hosted By John Ottman
  • Heisting Cannes With The Usual Suspects - Featurette
  • Introducing The Usual Suspects - Featurette
  • "Taking Out The Usual Suspects - Interviews And Outtakes": Bryan Singer introduces Kevin Spacey And Friend, Interview With John Ottman. Interview Outtakes
  • Audio Commentary With Bryan Singer And Christopher McQuarrie
  • Audio Commentary With John Ottman
  • US Theatrical TV Spots and Trailers With Introduction By John Ottman

The special features demand an evening's viewing purely to themselves. The featurettes are nicely linked together in such a way that they can be viewed as a single thirty-or-so minute documentary or a separate vignettes. And they contain some absolutely cracking information - from pre-production we learn that Gabriel Byrne was initially very reluctant to have anything at all to do with the movie. Through production and we learn that on at least one occasion, Byrne left the movie for one reason or another (Bryan Singer himself admits that the movie was made 'by the seat if his pants'). Post production and we find Byrne gladly lapping up the praise as the movie becomes the toast of Cannes.  

Whilst the deleted scenes don't add an awful lot to the movie, the commentaries provided are first class, particularly Singer's and McQuarrie's. In one particularly illuminating moment, we are told that all the actors, at some point during the shooting of the movie, believed they were playing the mysterious Keyser Soze! 

All in all, an almost perfect package. A film that definitely withstands (and even demands) multiple viewings and a set of extras that enhance the viewing experience.

Movie - 9/10
Disc - 9/10

Sean G

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