The Usual Suspects (Blu-ray Review)

The Usual Suspects was released May 10th as a Blu-ray Book. I haven’t yet made up my mind about this new case, which is basically a book with a slot in the back to stick the Blu-ray disc in. As our movies shelves are beyond capacity I like the idea that these digibooks are thinner than the usual Blu-ray case, but I wonder how safe the disc is in the slot. Would it get scratched if this were one of my favorite movies that gets watched on a weekly basis? That remains to be seen, but I did learn some interesting things from the book portion of the set like the fact that The Usual Suspects was made for less than 7 million dollars, it’s been voted as one of AFI’s 10 great mystery films, and that it won two Oscars.


The big question back in 1995 was “Who is Keyser Soze”? The Usual Suspects begins with an explosion at a shipyard that leaves almost thirty men dead and a badly burned survivor who claims to know the identity of the infamous Keyser Soze. Kevin Spacey plays Verbal Kint, a crippled con artist who serves as our narrator of what happened and who also claims to have been the other survivor of the shipyard massacre.

The movie jumps back in time as collection of suspects are put in a police line up and questioned about a truck robbery. The suspects being interrogated are revealed to be Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollock, Benecio Del Toro, Stephen Baldwin and Kevin Spacey. Chazz Palminteri plays the federal agent investigating the robbery and who wants to solve the bigger mystery of who exactly is Keyser Soze.

According to Verbal Kint, Keyser Soze is the devil incarnate. Kint says that the devil’s greatest trick is convincing the world he doesn’t exist and insists that Soze has done everything he can to make everyone wonder the same about him. Many people fear him, but few are sure he even exists or if he is just an urban legend. The movie cleverly makes the viewer become a detective of sorts since there are many believable suspects and the filmmakers make you think you’ve figured it all out more than once.

The movie is constructed much like a puzzle box where things may seem confusing at first, but it all makes sense once you’ve seen the movie and all of the pieces fall into place. The movie often answers questions with more questions – but it always all centers around Keyser Soze. Who is working for him, who might be him, and are the events that brought the suspects together random, or all part of Soze’s ultimate master plan? If you have to get up and use the bathroom halfway through The Usual Suspects you need to pause the movie. This isn’t the type of movie where you can walk away and just figure it out when you return.

Most people have either seen the film, or heard about the twist ending in the last sixteen years but I’m not going to spoil it. The Usual Suspects has an impressive ensemble cast, all of which give great performances. The intricate story is one of the most complicated I’ve tried to review without spoiling anything which in itself leads to my recommendation – watch it and see for yourself.


The Usual Suspects Blu-ray is presented 1080p resolution with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. This is an excellent transfer for a sixteen year old low budget movie. Daytime colors are bright and vivid while the nighttime scenes are dark and rich but still sharply defined and they set the appropriate mood. Skin tones look lifelike throughout the movie and there’s a good deal of clarity as well. Considering that this was a somewhat low budget film to begin with, I was pleasantly surprised with the video quality throughout.


While I was surprised with the video quality, I the audio was just what I had expected and nothing more. The DTS Master Audio 5.1 mix provides clear dialogue but I was not wowed at all, which is to be somewhat expected since this was a low budget indie film. I did not feel surrounded by the surround sound in any of the usual situations. This is a front heavy mix with very little to offer your satellite speakers. It’s fine for what it is, but it could have been better.

Special Features

Besides a list of trailers for a bunch of old movies (old as in they came out around the time of of this movie), The Usual Suspects has no other special features unless you count the behind the scenes info from the mini book it’s packaged in, which I do not. However, the book does have some nice pictures and some good info if you are a fan of the movie. If you are interested in trailers then here is what you will find on the disc: The Usual Suspects Theatrical Trailer, Flyboys, Windtalkers, Rocky, Bulletproof Monk, Phone Booth, Kiss of the Dragon, Speed, and Fantastic 4.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed The Usual Suspects a lot more the first time I saw it. I’m guessing that is due to the fact that I did not know who Keyser Soze was. When you know that going into the film, it loses a lot. All of the mystery is gone and I was simply a lot less interested. I’m the type to watch movies over and over again and the good ones never get old to me. In this case, I think The Usual Suspects is a good movie with a great cast and a cool premise, but once is enough for me.

Order your copy today!


15 Responses to “The Usual Suspects (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Wow, completely disagree here. Usual Suspects is an incredibly re-watchable film. Knowing the key twist only enhances the experience for me, making it plenty of fun to look at all that’s going on in new ways. Not to mention how incredibly quotable and well made the film is. I may just go watch it right now, since I’m thinking about it.

  2. Brian White

    I completely agree with u Sean. I watched this film
    For the very first tme in January this year and if you see enough of a certain characters films, then you know who the culprit is in the first 15 minutes. At least I did. I think I would be bored out of my mind if I had to watch it again. I’m not saying it is a bad movie. I’m just saying this would get no replay value from I.

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    Sean’s not the author here 😉

    First time watch? Wow.

  4. Sean Ferguson

    Yeah this is Jami’s review which I actually disagree with in some areas. I would have given it 5 stars and I think it is perfect to see over and over since once you know how it ends you can go back and see the clues. I thought this was a fantastic movie with an incredible cast, script, and director.

  5. Gerard Iribe

    This is a classic film.

  6. Brian White

    I agree with you Jami. Yawn! Next movie!

  7. Aaron Neuwirth

    Thank you Sean, I thought I was in a mad house for a second.

  8. Sean Ferguson

    Jami and Brian usually agree on just about everything. Don’t get either one of them started on The Vampire Diaries or True Blood.

  9. Jami Ferguson

    I agree with quotable and it is a well made film overall. On the second watching, you will notice more and pick up on some clues you missed. After two watchings, as Brian said it’s a “yawn”. I have no problem being on Team Brian 🙂

    Sometimes I’m amazed I married a man (Sean) that doesn’t appreciate the finer things in life (aka Vampire Diaries and True Blood).

  10. Gerard Iribe

    True Blood rocks, though. Never seen Vampire Diaries.

  11. Sean Ferguson

    Every episode of True Blood is the same. Sookie gets herself in trouble, some people get naked, others get killed, and Bill usually races in to save the day. The first season was ok but they lost me with the second season with the evil chick and the sacrificial tree of meat. That was the final straw for me unless Jami raves about this new season.

  12. Aaron Neuwirth

    I’m with Gerard.

  13. Brian White

    Thanks Jami! Welcome to Team Brian.

    So what are you doing July 20-24? 🙂

  14. Jiminy Critic

    Loved Stephen Baldwin in this…

  15. Jami

    Brian, I will be home on July 20-24 being sad that I didn’t get to go to Comic Con! Hope to go next year.