‘The Usual Suspects’ at 20: Why The Ending Still Holds Up

     August 14, 2015


The Usual Suspects turns twenty this weekend, and while that far exceeds the statute of limitations on spoiling an ending, I say to spoilerphobes who haven’t seen the movie: stop reading now, because this article is all about one of cinema’s all-time great twist endings and why it still works today.

[Spoilers Ahead]

I’ll admit that the spoiler warning is a bit odd because, as director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie point out in their commentary track, they show you the truth, and then spend almost two hours trying to convince you that you saw something else, and then, in less than five minutes, complete re-frame the entire story yet again. It’s a film that delightfully messes with the audience by not only presenting an unreliable narrator, but also by showing the dangers in demanding to be fed a certain story.

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