"The Usual Suspects": Its Use of Editing and Sound.

Essay by riguy25University, Bachelor'sC+, October 2005

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"The Usual Suspects" is a lasting film told in the narrative style of an apparent semi-innocent man, Verbal Kint, which is critical to setting up our interpretation of the characters and events. In the film we are told the story of how everything came to be; the false arrests of the usual suspects (Keaton, Verbal Kint, McManus, Fenster, and Hockney), the payback of the police, and the legend of Keyser Soze among other things. Everything we are presented with makes us want to symphonize with Verbal, from his being a cripple to his Agent Kujan's bulling of him by calling him stupid and weak. Throughout it all director Bryan Singer beautifully weaves the story with his powerful use of editing and sound. Specifically, we can pinpoint two sequences in the film and see just how they compare, differ, and relate to the scope of the film. The two sequences that ideally fit this criteria, is the sequence after we see Verbal for the first time of the arrests and interrogations, and the conclusion of the film when Agent Kulian realizes he has been had.

Here we a decisive example of just how effective sound and editing can be.

In the sequence concerning the arrest and subsequent integrations we are clearly shown to perceive the 'bad guys' as good and the police as bad. Although highlighted by comedy throughout, it's here where the soundtrack plays a considerable role. Starting at the beginning of the arrest scenes and cuts, we see each arrest highlighted by a large 'boom' which in turn causes a sense of doubt amongst the audience. During this time the soundtrack is played throughout and special attention is given to the character of Keaton. His arrest is given the longest segment and has his own diagetic soundtrack,