The Usual Suspects made the careers of both director Bryan Singer and Kevin Spacey, who won the first of his two Oscars playing the film’s breakout character: Verbal Kint. The ending of the film is one of the greatest lines and reveals in cinema history, so if you for some reason passing the understanding of man have not seen The Usual Suspects, do NOT watch these clips. The ending, though set up by the whole film, really is sold when Verbal tells the detectives the myth and legend of Keyser Soze. Spacey weaves a spellbinding tale of this criminal mastermind, darker than the devil and larger than life. He’s elusive and terrifying, and if the detectives had been a little more aware of their surroundings, they’d have known just how thoroughly they were being played when Kint says, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world he didn’t exist.” It’s an epic story and a grand illusion that sets up the film’s legendary hammer blow of an ending.
Today heralds the return of director Bryan Singer to the cinema with Jack and the Giant. While it doesn’t seem like this is going to be a classic on par with his earlier work (Rotten Tomatoes has it at 49% at the time of this piece), I’m just glad he’s back. His career got off to such a spectacular beginning and, let’s not forget, we owe this man for beginning the modern comic book movie renaissance with the first two X-Men films. Singer got his start in Hollywood as an assistant to Richard Donner whose Superman saga he brought to a close in Superman Returns. I think the stress of that production and the backlash from some fans really shook him and threw him entirely off track. I love Superman Returns. I’ll have to do a whole column on it sometime, but I think it’s absolutely fantastic. So here are my top 5 Singer films and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us next year with X-Men: Days of Future Past.
1. The Usual Suspects (1993)
2. Superman Returns (2006)
3. X2: X-Men United (2003)
4. X-Men (2000)
5. Valkyrie (2008)
I have been recovering from a bout of food poisoning (tomato soup, we are breaking up for life) the last two days. During that time, I was fortunate enough to discover Kevin Spacey’s new drama on Netflix, House of Cards. I watched the first six episodes in one sitting and I would very much like to get back to it (plus I can feel my ability to stay vertical waning) so a special shout out to someone I’m glad to see doing good work once more: Kevin Spacey.
1. The Usual Suspects
2. LA Confidential
3. Margin Call (one of the most underrated films of the last five years)
5. Superman Returns*
* Yeah…don’t like American Beauty or Glengarry Glen Ross. Discuss.