best films: #72: THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995)
Boasting the best ending in film history (I know, debatable… bring it on), and the best performance from the highly underused Kevin Spacey (for which he won his first Oscar), The Usual Suspects is a gritty, crackling crime thriller with an incredible script from Christopher McQuarrie and an intriguing, if anything, cast of misfits including Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollak, and Stephen Baldwin. The noir-y narrative and the thick plot (five men from a police line-up hatch a scheme for the perfect crime) make for a sometimes overwhelming, but always entertaining, page-turner. Everyone here is in fine form, and predominantly their best work (excepting perhaps del Toro, who’s performance in Traffic is hard to compete with). And thanks to the flawless original screenplay the actors are working with, it comes as no surprise.