Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Usual Suspects

I'm in Adelaide, South Australia at the moment on holiday. On the long trip across, I managed to see The Usual Suspects starring Kevin Spacey. I'd heard some good things about it, and was interested to see what it would be like.

Let's start with the cons: A slow, rather ponderous start. It didn't grab me, there wasn't a strong sense of protagonist until the second scene (maybe it was the busy environment around me; I wasn't as patient as I would be at home or in the cinema). And at the end, an unashamed cliche - the detective drops his full cup of coffee as he realises something. We see the slo-mo coffee cup smash from three different angles. Come on, people don't do that!

The pros: The story. It had just the right "turns"in it to make you so, so surprised at the end. Although I must admit I did suspect what eventually did happen, but they made such a good job of pointing me in the wrong direction I really was surprised when X was revealed as the real you-know-who! (Don't want to spoil the film for you if you haven't seen it)

Even though I didn't really like the beginning, it was the kind of beginning you eventually wish you'd paid more attention to as the plot unfolds, because it holds so many clues as to what's actually happening.

It's not my favourite genre (grittycopdrama), but it was a good example of that genre.

As well as The Usual Suspects, I also saw some of Wall Street. Both films were set in New York, and both had panoramic skyline shots including the World Trade Centre. I'm not American, nor especially sympathetic to the USA, but both of those shots nearly made me cry. It's amazing what symbolism can do.


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