2. The Usual Suspects (1995)
New York. – six weeks ago. A truck loaded with stripped gun parts got jacked outside of Queens. The drive didn’t see anybody, but somebody fucked up. He heard a voice. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
Never trust a cripple. Or, rather, don’t believe everything you hear! When Verbal got in the car, I jumped out of my seat and screamed, “I’ve been had!” as I often like to pretend I’m some sort of old school Vaudevillian. The Usual Suspects makes me think about the cinema/audience relationship today. We’re rarely inspired to actually interact with what is going on. In many ways, audiences have become zombies, staring at the shiny-shiny screen and believing everything they hear and see, and I don’t blame them – I blame the filmmakers who don’t challenge the audience to find interesting ways to make us active participants. But what’s so brilliant about The Usual Suspects is that even though we are engaged, we still don’t see it coming. We feel as silly as the cop does. We let generic conventions get the better of us. You know you just sat there and didn’t suspect the sweet old cripple. You fools! But could you have spotted it? He does tell a damn good story! Play me off, Johnny!