Now here is a film that throws so many curveballs at you you won’t even know what hit you. Now I can’t guarantee that you will like the complicated plot as some like the late Roger Ebert disliked the fact that they couldn’t really understand it very well. I can understand why those people don’t like it; it is like watching two scientists talk about quantum physics. But hey I liked this movie.
An ensemble cast featuring Kevin Spacey, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin, Benicio Del Toro, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollak, Peter Greene, and Pete Postlethwaite, this film noir relies heavily on its actors to do the storytelling and they do great (except maybe for Stephen Baldwin, but who gives a fuck about him anyway?). And when I say film noir, I mean it. This is not a film like Batman Begins where people can say that it has genuine film noir influences; this is a genuine noir film.
Five guys are in a police lineup. They are dicking around and having fun with each other because they are all just pals since they all have something in common; they are criminals. They laugh, they curse and they enjoy the fact that they are in a lineup. They really hit it off and decide that they might work well together on their next crime.
The story is told in “Forrest Gump” fashion where one character is sitting down telling people about his past, that character is played by Kevin Spacey who won his first Oscar for the role, a very admirable choice for the award. I’m not sure if I would agree since there are other performances that year that I really liked but regardless he was fantastic. The film also won an award for its screenplay, proving that there are plenty of respectable members of the industry who enjoyed the complicated twists and turns of the story.
It’s a shame that director Brian Singer hasn’t gone on to direct other film noir projects like this one. I haven’t seen his films “Apt Pupil” or “Valkyrie” but I doubt they match the style of “Suspects” and it really is a shame because he really really understands the idea of film noir, without making it into a caricature like “Sin City”. That’s not to say “Sin City” is a bad movie, heck I think it is a better film but “Suspects” is a more classic film noir while “Sin City is more of a neo noir.
I probably would have enjoyed the movie even if it were not for the great acting because I like the story so much. They say that the audience is always 5 steps ahead of the movie so anything the filmmakers want to have as a surprise must come at least 5 steps before it becomes obvious. This film is constantly 10 steps ahead of the audience so unless you have had it spoiled for you there is no way you will see anything coming.
Maybe it is a little too far ahead however which is why I am going to hold off from my top score. I do wish I could have understood just a little more, but trust me it makes you feel better if you don’t by having one of the characters get fooled just as you did.