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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2011

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 "The Usual Suspects (Digibook)" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen

movie-june-2011-the-usual-suspects-digibook

Synopsis

A deadly ship fire in Los Angeles opens one of the great films of the 1990’s.  Almost the entire crew has been killed or burned, and only one of the criminals that might be responsible has been caught.  As Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey) takes us back to the origin of the story.  The police bring together five criminals, but criminals who were innocent of their accused crime.  After they execute a robbery to get back at the NYPD, the group takes off for LA to stay off of their radar.

Once there, the story takes more twists and turns, before leading us to the episode at the boat.  As Verbal tells the story to the police, the motives and twists in the story begin to become clear to the viewer, or do they?

Specifications

  • MGM
  • 1995, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 46 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Codec: MPEG-2
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Benecio Del Toro
  • Directed by Brian Singer
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

In high school a teacher told me that I had to see this film, and nothing else about it.  After watching it, he was certainly correct.  A complex and engrossing story that you have to pay attention to, and an ending that will have you coming back to watch again to see what you missed the first time around.  Thankfully, my wife hasn’t seen it before so I have a good reason to watch it again on Blu-ray!

Technical

Using the same MPEG-2 encode as the previous Blu-ray release, the Usual Suspects looks far better than it did on DVD, but it’s not as detailed as the best releases today.  Black levels are decent but could be improved, and colors are generally good, but the slightly soft look to some scenes is probably due to how the film was originally shot.  Overall the image is very nice, it’s just lacking that final bit of detail that the best transfers have.

The audio was never a major focus of the film, but here it is nicely represented.  Dialogue is crisp and clear, and surrounds are used when necessary.

Extras

There are a few trailers on the disc and that’s it.  The only special feature related to the movie is the 24 page digibook case.