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The Usual Suspects: Limited Edition Blu-ray Book Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: MPEG-2
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround
  • Region: A
  • Rating: R
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: MGM
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 10, 2011
  • List Price: $34.98

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BestBuy.com:
The Usual Suspects - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle AC3

Purchase The Usual Suspects: Limited Edition at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:5/5]

This 1995 film directed by Bryan Singer (Superman Returns) earned two Oscars (Best Screenplay/Christopher McQuarrie and Best Supporting Actor/Kevin Spacey). It’s a superb piece of Film Noir in a twisting pulp crime drama that will have your head in knots trying to discern how it’s all going to turn out.

With a riveting performance from Spacey (American Beauty) whose character Verbal drives the drama through his convoluted story to a Federal customs agent, The Usual Suspects begins at the ending, an explosion and a murder on a ship, then quickly jumps to the past. There’s been a robbery and gun parts have been stolen. Six notorious ex-cons, none of them guilty of the crime, are all called into the lineup and harassed by the police. After being released, they hatch a plan of payback on the NYPD. They’re going to expose the department’s corruption; involvement as couriers for drug dealers and smugglers of illegal goods. All goes well, but soon the group is on the radar of a legendary criminal bogeyman known as Keyser Söze. Some believe he is only a myth, a front to scare criminals into order by other criminals, but some believe he is very much a real person. When Söze’s lawyer Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite; Inception; Clash of the Titans) shows up insisting the group do a job for Söze, it becomes clear that they’ve all either worked for Söze or stolen from him in the past without even knowing it and that the reach of the man or myth is beyond what they could imagine. Meanwhile, back in the present, the investigation turns to who Söze really is or if he even actually exists. Perhaps, he has been one of the group all along, the prime suspect being Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne; Miller’s Crossing; End of Days).

The Usual Suspects will keep you guessing at every one of its delightfully pulpy turns. Spacey’s delivery as Verbal is simultaneously creepy and scary, while Bryan Singer probably delivered one of , if not the, best directorial performances of his career. The cast also includes Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollack, Benicio Del Toro, Chazz Palminteri, and Giancarlo Esposito.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The Usual Suspects was previously released to Blu-ray by MGM and this limited edition arrives with the same MPEG-2 transfer as before. It often shows strong clarity, good color reproduction with natural flesh tones and a nice detail. The flip side of that is that the transfer is also often grainier than it should be, shows a lot of video noise in darker portions of the image, and is prone to softness. Though it does show some source damage here and there, it is relatively clean.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack fills the surrounds with mainly low-level ambience and stays front heavy throughout. Dialogue is clean and there is a wide stereo spread across the front channels with good dynamics and smooth high frequencies.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

The limited edition is packaged in a deluxe Blu-ray Book with exclusive production stills, information on the film and its cast and crew, plus film trivia. On-disc supplements related to the film include only the original theatrical trailer of The Usual Suspects (2.35:1; 1080p/24).

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

While arguing the virtues of The Usual Suspects would be a useless exorcize, it would not be useless to argue the virtues of this reissue from MGM. It’s yet another release with the same middling MPEG-2 transfer in a spruced up package that looks nice, but really doesn’t offer much beyond the original release considering the bumped up list price. If you already own the previous Blu-ray release or are in the market for this, it’s probably best to skip this one and stick with the original, cheaper one, unless you really, really want the fancy Blu-ray Book packaging.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product align=”right”]B004SEUJN2[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
The Usual Suspects - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle AC3

Purchase The Usual Suspects: Limited Edition at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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