TMP Reviews: The Usual Suspects on Blu-ray!

This collector’s edition of The Usual Suspects Blu-ray comes packed in a 24 page hardcover collectible book with photos and essays about the film. The book is the size of a Blu-ray case and the disc is set in a pocket inside the back cover.

BLU-RAY SPECS
ASPECT RATIO: 2.35:1 (1080p high definition)
RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes
RATING: R
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround
SUBTITLES: English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, Spanish   
SPECIAL FEATURES: Theatrical Trailer

Usual Suspects

THE SET-UP
Five criminals find their best-laid plans have gone awry when they cross paths with a mysterious man named Keyser Soze.
Written by: Christopher McQuarrie
Producer: Bryan Singer and Michael McDonnell
Director: Bryan Singer

THE DELIVERY
Originally released in 1995, The Usual Suspects opened as a modestly-budget mystery thriller, but s now widely considered a modern classic. Led by outstanding performances from Kevin Spacey (who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) and Gabriel Byrne, the story unfolds in a series of flashbacks that challenges the viewer to figure out what is the truth, what is perception, and what is a lie.

The film was one of the first to popularize the “twist” ending, back before M. Night ran it into the ground for all of us. Unlike many movies that use the “twist” ending, however, The Usual Suspects stands apart because the story is smart and clever and never short changes the audience on logic; it stands up to repeat viewings well. While some of his films since Usual Suspects have been, well suspect (yeah, we mean you, Superman Returns), director Bryan Singer manages to inject this film with a timeless quality while keeping its footing firmly in the present. It reminds one of the gangster dramas of Old Hollywood, especially with the wardrobe and snappy dialogue.

Some argue that the film gets too much credit, that it doesn’t deserve its reputation as one of the best films ever made. I do not believe that myself, and see the film for what it is. It is hard to deny that The Usual Suspects is a true original, an entertaining crime drama with some classic performances.

This is a re-release of a previously issued Blu-ray, with a collectible book substituted for the DVD case. The hardcover book includes essays and a number of photos, and is a great marketing idea to spur interest in catalog titles like this.

VIDEO AND AUDIO
The Usual Suspects sports a fairly decent transfer. The image is quite sharp and there is enough contrast to give the image enough “pop.” There is some considerable grain in the image, and it looks like some effort was put into the video to sharpen it up, and during brighter scenes it is quite good. However, the quality of the image suffers in darker and overcast scenes. I wonder if this is an issue with the original print or the quality of the transfer.

The audio is good, but not overwhelming. The channels aren’t very active, but you really don’t expect much of that from this film anyway. The voices are clear and easy to understand, and the music sounds deep and rich.          

SPECIAL FEATURES

A theatrical trailer is all you get here. Considering the status of this film among fans and critics, there should be more included.   

BUY IT OR NETFLIX IT?

RATINGS  
MOVIE: A
VIDEO: B+
AUDIO: B
EXTRAS: D
OVERALL GRADE: B+

The Usual Suspects is a great film, but even with the collectible book, there should have been more included with this release. It really needs more special features and behind the scenes documentaries. A commentary would be great. The books provides some nice details, but it isn’t enough.

If you are a die-hard fan of the film and have not picked up the Blu-ray yet, this is a great edition to pick up, at the right price. If you can find it on sale, it is a worthy buy until the eventual special edition is released.

The Usual Suspects (Limited Edition Book Edition) is now available from MGM/Fox Home Entertainment.

Click here to order The Usual Suspects on Blu-ray from Amazon!