‘The Usual Suspects’ Revisited

I rewatched The Usual Suspects for the first time in many years. Still a great movie. Still the only worthwhile thing Stephen Baldwin has ever done.

My better half guessed the big reveal pretty early (much earlier than I ever did), but still had that moment when she realized that, of everything we had seen, only the very beginning and the very end could be known to be ‘true’ within the context of the movie.

I had forgotten how gorgeously shot and composed everything was. Also, the antithesis of the ‘Bourne’ style of jumpy, fast cut and sped action sequences that make it difficult to understand the geographic relationship between characters (Nolan’s Batman movies, particularly his first two, are egregious examples of poor editing of action sequences, leaving them almost completely incomprehensible). Even in the final action sequence in the claustrophobic confines of the freighter, the spatiality of the characters is clear. In some ways, that’s the point: by making the location and actions of the characters cinematically clear, it heightens the shock when you realize that it is very likely that almost none of it ever happened. Everybody is visible, comprehensible, and ‘real.’

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