‘The Usual Suspects’: 25 Years Later, Kevin Spacey’s Still the Perpetrator

The Usual Suspects, the 1995 whodunit from director Bryan Singer and writer Christopher McQuarrie, turns 25 this month. Yes, the title is a spoiler. If you haven’t seen the movie by now, get over it. If you’re too young to remember “the greatest trick the devil ever played,” here’s a recap: 

Small-time con-man Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey) is one of the only survivors of a massacre aboard a ship docked in Los Angeles. The film follows his interrogation by U.S. Customs agent Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) as he recalls the events that led to his involvement with four other criminals he met in a police lineup. He and these partners, after messing up a heist or two, become involved with a mysterious crime lord by the name of Keyser Söze. Turns out, Söze arranged the lineup where the five men met because each of them has unwittingly stolen from him. To pay him back (and live), they must raid the ship of Argentinian drug dealers and destroy a boatload (pun intended) of cocaine. This boat is where everything goes south. 

The film is a nuclear bomb of plot twists and misdirection. We know only what Verbal (the ultimate unreliable narrator) tells us; however, like Kujan we believe him—Verbal is a stuttering coward who couldn’t help his grandma cross the street. Kujan spends the bulk of the interrogation suspecting that the ex-cop, Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), was secretly the mastermind Söze. Redundant spoiler alert: Verbal is Söze. The con man plays his role perfectly: no one suspects the whimpering cripple. Having told Kujan what he wanted to hear, the final minutes of The Usual Suspects see Spacey alter his physicality, light a cigarette, and get into a car with his lawyer Kobayashi. “And just like that—poof—he’s gone.”

The movie won McQuarrie the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and Spacey won Best Supporting Actor. Spacey’s win propelled his critical domination of the ’90s into this century. Then, a couple of years ago, life intimated art, and Spacey turned out to be a real-life villain (coincidentally, Singer has faced a slew of sexual assault allegations as well).

What does this mean? Trust no one. Also, despite all the real-life treachery, the movie’s still good. In honor of its 25h anniversary (and the fact that Spacey is indeed still the perpetrator), we’ve rounded up the best The Usual Suspects GIFs—one for every year it’s kept us guessing.

Which should only be one because it has next to no rewatch value once you know the final twist…

Cover Photo: Gramercy Pictures

More anniversaries: ‘Die Hard With a Vengeance’ Is Still the Best Third Film of Any Movie Franchise 25 Years Later

Still shookith: 40 Years Later, The Empire Strikes Back Still Gives Us Daddy Issues

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