Final Film Critique


Stage 1: Analysis

A film is able to captivate the viewer through its critical approachto inform and meet aesthetic needs. Interesting films explain to theviewers why they are watching the movie. There are numerous aspects,which make a movie interesting. The paper is a film analysis thataddresses the contextual information, aesthetic selections,story/plot, and social/personal effect of The Usual Suspects.

Contextual Information

Bryan Singer directs The Usual Suspects while the writer isChristopher McQuarrie. Released in 1995, the movie revolves aroundthe actions of five cons that meet during a police line-up (Larson,2001). They include Roger Kint, a fake artist that hascerebral palsy and walks while limping. Todd Hockney is ill temperedand his crimes involve hijacking. Dean Keaton is a previous corruptpolice officer that is endeavoring to become straight and is famousin the film for once faking death to evade investigation. FredFrenster is a career robber that pulls work with McManus andcommunicates in broken English. Keyser Soze is presented as a villainin the film. The character has a imaginary as well as unforgivingstatus having murdered his family after they were kidnapped by aHungarian mob. He later murders all except one gang member prior tohis disappearance. Soze’s identity is undisclosed and his agentsare unaware of their employer. Michael McManus a career robber thathas a short temper.

It is classified under mystery films in the AFI’s. Conversely, itis a neo-noir movie, which follows Rodger Kint’s questioning. He isamong the few individuals to survive a mass murder, which happenedthe previous night. Film noir in French refers to black movie and isemployed in characterizing Hollywood crime dramas created from the1940s to 1950s (Orr, 1999).There is a lot of disagreement on if film noir fits as a genre ormovement, with most arguments acknowledging that it is a genre,because genres have no conclusion. From the 60s movies that havecharacteristics of film noir have been categorized as neo-noir (Orr,1999). The Usual Suspects fits in the neo-noir categorydue to having film noir traits. Film noir focuses on moraldishonesty, which is largely apparent in the film. Dean Keaton leadsa life symbolized by wrongdoing. Keyser Soze, murders his family as ademonstration of his ruthlessness. In one of the scenes, the mobsteals a taxicab, which is being employed by fraudulent NYPD forescorting smugglers. This result into disclosure of the corrupt NYPDcops, which also makes it possible for the gang to revenge theirprevious arrests. Film noir is well known for depicting courageouscriminal dramas, which makes the film a natural selection for thegenre.


The movie commences with the conclusion of the mass murder on aboat, and cuts to the following day when questioning is happening todetermine what transpired. Rodger Kint is among those that escape themass murder, and the narrative is told via his account duringinterrogation. Kint begins by revisiting when the group of fivesuspects initially met following their detention for questioningconcerning an attack on an armored truck. Despite detaining thesuspects and questioning, the police lack proof to proceed withprosecution resorting to allowing them to leave. Following theirrelease, the five characters plot on how to revenge for their arrestand at the same time benefit financially from the payback plan. Afterengaging in a successful crime, they decide to work together againfor a character Redfoot from Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the criminalactivity is not as triumphant as the initial one, resulting in thefive becoming tangled with the well-known scandalous Keyser Soze.Keyser notifies the group of their indirect involvement in stealingfrom him, and the mere reason they are still alive is that they wereunaware of their offence.

Kobayashi, working for Kesyer approaches the five. He has ampleinformation on the past criminal records of every group member. Heprogresses to explain the ways in which each has insulted Keyserunknowingly. Keyser plans for the five to attack a ship, which istransporting cocaine. In return, he promises that they will continueliving as he pardons them for their previous mistake. In addition,the group will also get money. Initially, the group hesitates. Later,they become convinced and progress with attacking the ship asplanned. The fight that happens on the ship is bloody in addition totaking long, resulting in the killing of many. Unfortunately, afterthe five defeat all the enemies they are astonished that there is nococaine in the ship. This means that Keyser has indirectly used thefive in killing an individual that had the authority of revealing hisidentity to authorities. He later murders every group member apartfrom Rodger Kent who escapes.

Although the plot is significant, more relevant is the method usedin telling the story. It is narrated using a non-linear technique,shifting from the past and present (Larson,2001). This makes the plot intriguing for the viewers as theywatch the unfolding story, because of the specific aura of mysterywithin the plot. Narrating via flashbacks, the viewers gets theviewpoint of Rodger Kent, as viewers get to learn what happened viahis view, which results in the exposure on minimal information.Conversely, when The Usual Suspects cuts to present and thehappening interrogation into the murders at ship, viewers get moreinformation, which Rodger is not expected to know, because it is onlythe interrogators that are aware. Via the use of the additionalinformation, audiences create theories on what transpired, as well aswho are the different characters. The movie provides the informationdeliberately, to inspire the formation of theories.

Aesthetic Choices

The Usual Suspects is a classic, which has been made possibleby the employment of particular film techniques. Each factor in themovie is done with perfection, with every feature making a relevantcontribution towards tone and style. The method on non-linearnarration combines the darkness deriving from noir genre throughpresenting the viewer with small information pieces. Subtle cameramovement ensure audiences do not lose concentration on the filmthrough making each aspect appear relevant, in addition to assistingin the prevention of losing relevant information (Phillips,2012).

Mise-en-scene happens from the start of the film through the darkshadows as well as dead bodies that permeate the ship and docksetting. For instance, an opening scene that creates relevance iswhen the camera follows Keyser without showing all his body, but onlythe legs and chest. The technique is relevant in creating mysteryensuring the audience is more interested in learning about thecharacter (Pramaggiore&amp Wallis, 2005).The characters distinguishing watch and lighter, in addition to hisfiring of guns using the left hand, are restrained indicators intothe anonymity of his uniqueness. Another relevant mise-en-scene isthe bulletin board hanging on the office wall where Kint narrates hisencounter. Contrary to the common detective crime story, whereinvestigators get clues from the place the offence happened, in thefilm, the offender is the one getting clues from the police station.The wall appears cluttered, which makes it possible for viewers todismiss it as irrelevant. However, as Rubin declares, the wall has asystem and becomes meaningful when properly observed. As agent Kujantakes a closer look at the wall, he is able to detect all the cluesKint uses. In the similar manner, the audience learns of thesignificance of the cluttered wall. It is through the informationfrom the wall that Kint is able to lie to the interrogators, as hegets clues concerning the crime.

The movie uses cinematography in its production. This refers to themethod of motion-picture filmmaking (Pramaggiore&amp Wallis, 2005).Cinematography approach differs from one movie to another, whiledirectors will frequently convey traits from one movie technique to adifferent one. The Usual Suspects employs an arrangement ofslow zooms as well as dolly moves, which conclude in close-ups toincorporate a restrained oomph to scenes involving dialogue. Throughthe employment of slow camera moves, the movie forms a feeling ofunending movement or action. The movement is relevant since in amovie, which is often shifting back and forth amid the past andcurrent, it is possible to miss important information and get lost inthe story. When there is an action scene, the camera spans fast as astrategy of making the screen actions appear of paramountsignificance (Pramaggiore&amp Wallis, 2005).The restrained camera movement creates an unending feeling ofmovement. This makes all the happenings in the film relevant. Forinstance, the car-chasing scene captures the viewer in the imagesgleaming on screen to assist in preventing the audience from missingthe intended information. Such camera methods are possible todisappear in a movie, yet they act as the cornerstone of filmpresentation.

Social/Personal Impact

The film presents the world of crime as progressivelyself-contained hence, police have become likewise ineffective. Thismeans that the state lacks to have an effective influence on thecriminal community (Sylvester, n.d). The notion of a weak as well asinnocent police structure appears common, specifically when evaluatedin movies, which are created with the objective of reaffirming theauthority of state forces. The Usual Suspects aims atdemonstrating the manner in which police failure at excessivelymonitoring anti-social conduct, results in the unconscious yetinevitable creation of advent repressive as well as ideologicalmanifestation of supervisor control through the character KeyserSoze. It is apparent from the movie that there is minimal the policeare capable of doing as a strategy of controlling the offencescommitted by the five. The police are unable to conductinvestigations, which create evidence required to proceed withprosecution for criminal activity. The outcome is that criminals feelsuperior and demonstrate minimal regard from state authority, becauseit is easy for them to escape after engaging in crime (Mcara &ampMcvie, 2005).


The different features that come into play when creating a movie arewithout a doubt effective in enhancing the theme and moviepresentation. The film analysis on the plot, aesthetics, socialimpact and contextual information reveals why The Usual Suspectsis a classic film.

Stage 2: Reflection

Film analysis results in many benefits. By watching a movie, itbecomes possible to see what happens between the characters and howthe narrative unfolds. However, through the analysis I do not justget to watch the movie, but learn of the different effects used andtheir significance. I am able to analyze the plot and relate it toreal life happenings, which brings out the social impact of themovie.

The film analysis has changed my approach of movies from justentertainment to informative. Instead of watching movies to pass timeand have fun, I realize that there is a lot to learn and relate toreal life after watching movies. It also informs that not all moviesare the same, because they have different genres. I also realize whysome movies may seem to have more lighting than others and othereffects.

Film theory acts as the basis for understanding a movie. Through thetheory, it becomes possible to understand the significance of issueslike period when the movie was created. Theories are important onproviding a foundation upon which to judge the creativity of a film.It becomes possible to understand why composers create their moviesin different manners and the message, which they intend tocommunicate.

The course has changed my comprehension on the relation betweenmovies and society. This is because through analysis I am able tounderstand that every theme relates to happenings taking place insociety. The analysis enlightens on how movies are created to informon something, which is happening of has already taken place insociety.

The analysis skill is one that I have developed through the course.Other skills include observation and critical thinking. By analyzinga film, I realize that I must be very observant and think critically.The skills will be important in prospect when I will be required tosolve issues that require analyzing the situation, observing andthinking critically.


Larson, E. (2001).&nbspTheusual suspects. London:British Film Institute.

Mcara, L &amp Mcvie, S. (2005). The Usual Suspects? Street-life,young people and the police. Criminal Justice, 5(5), 5-36.

Orr, S. (1999). Postmodernism,noir, and the usual suspects.&nbspLiterature/FilmQuarterly,&nbsp27(1), 65.

Phillips, G. D. (2012).&nbspOutof the shadows: Expanding the canon of classic film noir.Lanham: ScarecrowPress, Inc.

Pramaggiore, M., &amp Wallis, T.(2005).&nbspFilm:A critical introduction.London: Laurence King.

Sylvester, S. (n.d). Exploring issues of state control and individualresistance in the contemporary crime thriller: Who is Keyser Soze?Crime Culture, 1-1. Retrieved from