Narrative Inspiration - The Usual Suspects
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narrative Inspiration - The Usual Suspects
The Usual Suspects
By Jodie-Leigh Barnham
We know that our narrative has the possibility
to be quite confusing. So, looking at narratives
that are around the same genre and are similar
to our plot would be particularly helpful.
Taking inspiration from other similar plots can
be advantageous on our behalf because at
least we can look at elements that may make
our plot that bit less confusing for an audience.
‘The Usual Suspects’
The Usual Suspects is a psychological crime
thriller made in 1995. It won 2 Oscars for ‘Best
Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen’
and Kevin Spacey who played the antagonist
Söze, won ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role’.
The film centres around 5 men, all convicted
criminals who are lined up after a cargo ship
explodes and kills many. As none of the men were
actually guilty, just conceived to be, they decide to
seek revenge on the police department. The film
follows them as they seek revenge. Whilst the ploy
is going successfully, all men realise that the
presence of a omnipotent and anonymous criminal
mastermind, Keyser Söze.
All the men realize that in some
way they are all linked to Keyser
Söze and all owe him. The story
then develops in the men searching
for who Söze is. At the end of the
film, we realize that Keyser Söze is
in fact the least expected character.
Reviews of ‘The Usual Suspects’
There have been extremely positive reviews from amateurs and
professional critics alike. Having reviews from both critics and average
viewers is effective as you can receive both aspects of opinion and
consider any good points of criticisms that could improve our film.
These critic reviews focus
particularly on the narrative.
They express positively
about it being almost a
‘riddle’ about ‘corruption’,
claiming it’s a ‘thrill’.
Reviews of The Usual Suspects
Other reviews by the general public also comment on Keyzer Söze looking perfectly ordinary.
This is something that we should take note of as it is something that we want to include when
we create the costume for the Employer. We want to create the effect of someone that you
just don’t expect because of how perfectly ordinary they look. This can certainly be effective in
regards to our genre as this involves the element of a jigsaw narrative. This is the audience
themselves having to piece together the plot and guessing at who is who and who is
Another member of the general public said that the things that are the best are the subtle things
that you don’t realise until the end of the film. Again, this is something that we could include.
This could come in the form of flashbacks as we have already written this into our plot so in
knowing that an audience may find this attribution effective then we could attempt to make the
flashbacks important parts of the film. The fact that they also enjoy going back and re-watching
the film is something that we could achieve. This could mean that the audience would enjoy the
film so much they watch it again. In doing so, they could also discover some of the subtleties
that they didn’t see in the first viewing.
Overall Idea of ‘The Usual
A quote from the very end of the film from Keyser Söze himself is:
‘The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he didn’t exist’
This is the idea that the film is based around and I feel that this is something we
could twist and use in our film. In ‘The Usual Suspect’, Söze, who is posing as a
man named Verbal, actually does convince the police department that Söze isn’t
real. Because of this he goes on undetected and unsuspected.
We could use this concept in our film with the idea of making the Employer
looking like a perfectly ordinary business man. By doing so, it doesn’t show to the
audience, or anyone else that he could be suspicious in any way.
This is something that could effective in
regards to the genre as you can play on the
trust of your audience in making them
consider the people around them, questioning
who they actually are and who they know.
Most of all, whether that is the actual truth.
This is something we are wanting the
audience to do, question their comfort zones
and people they usually trust and consider
their moral filters.
Considering ‘The Usual Suspects’
This is a concept in regards to narrative and
character development that I believe we should
consider when developing our film. The very fact
that Söze was, apart from his criminal past, an
ordinary man is something that we are wanting to
include in regards to the character of the
Employer. Of course, unlike The Usual
Suspects, we are wanting to keep our criminal
mastermind physically help anonymous through
the film but the concept still stands.
In knowing that there are many reviews by various
people that claim that the narrative is possibly the
best part of the entire film is something positive for
us to hear as we now know that our plot is
particularly effective and could stand our as to
something that an audience may have not seen
Conclusively, I believe that ‘The Usual Suspects
has a narrative that we could easily take
inspiration from for our film.