Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Movie Moments: The Usual Suspects

Welcome to a weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. There are great movies, and then there are great scenes. Ideally, the two come as a package deal, but sometimes there’s just a scene that’s memorable all by itself. Each week, I’ll be taking a look at a formative movie moment that may be notable for its style, content, technique, or something else altogether. Minor spoilers will be referenced in this edition of the series, so please stop reading if you’ve somehow avoided seeing the movie in question.

This 1995 Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay and for Best Supporting Actor Kevin Spacey is an absolutely fantastic thriller, and it contains many iconic scenes. The most well-known and referenced of them all comes early in the film when its five main characters are thrown together into the same lineup and cause a major headache for the police. The image of the characters standing together in the lineup adorns the film’s poster and DVD cover, and this scene serves as an extremely effective introduction to their very diverse personalities. The casting is stellar, and this extended scene subtly identifies each of the characters. Stephen Baldwin’s McManus is a hothead who specializes in reckless behavior, Benicio Del Toro’s Fenster is simply incomprehensible, Kevin Pollak’s Hockney is a smooth operator who likes to mess with his enemies, Gabriel Byrne’s Dean Keaton is a businessman prove to anger at being prosecuted, and Kevin Spacey’s Verbal Kint is something else altogether. The different ways in which they speak the signature line in the lineup are extraordinarily telling, and the subsequent interview excerpts, which last less than a minute, define this as a captivating character study as well as a ridiculously compelling thriller. A must-see for anyone who hasn’t yet had the opportunity.

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