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Feature
The Usual Suspects (1995)
It's a film that gained fame and acclaim primarily on the strength of that ending, but The Usual Suspects is far more than just a crime yarn with a clever twist. Inspired only by the concept for its poster (five guys in a line-up), Christopher McQuarrie's mind-bending heist thriller is nothing less than an ensemble tour de force and, lest we forget, the starting pistol for both Bryan Singer and Kevin Spacey's careers in the big time. The basic plot - a collection of career criminals are rounded up for a heist, decide to join forces for a job but soon find themselves on the wrong side of a legendary underworld figure - hardly does justice to the bigger picture, which is gradually assembled from a series of flashbacks. Sleight of hand and misdirection are the tools

used here, the film leading viewers by the nose, playing with our perceptions before quite violently pulling the rug from under us. Complemented by a cast on top form - Stephen Baldwin and Benicio Del Toro provide the laughs with Gabriel Byrne adding a pleasingly sinister turn - The Usual Suspects is a masterwork of modern filmmaking, as simple in inception as it is elegant in execution.

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