A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Nobody here is very noble, with just a hint that cop-turned-crook Dean Keaton was on the verge of mending his ways for his girlfriend's sake (but didn't). Even the police are portrayed as internally corrupt and bullying, using threats and intimidation on suspects.
Violence & Scariness
Brief, stylized flashbacks of a rape. Characters beaten, shot at close range and in the head. Gasoline poured on an occupied police car, set on fire. A mother and children are murdered in a flashback.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters tell off-color anecdotes.
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Lots and LOTS of swearing, especially the f-word, plus just about every other profanity from time to time.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke -- even through their stocking masks. Mentions of cocaine and other narcotics in terms of underworld drug deals.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Usual Suspects has tons of strong language, particularly "f--k." Violence gets pretty severe too. In a flashback (which may not reflect actual events) children and a mother are murdered by their own husband/father. There is an overwhelming sense of film noir-style corruption, and even the police don't look terribly clean. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a transfixing, convoluted film noir thriller that forces you to think through events. Though it's a story without any "good" guys, in most any sense (one female character, who seems to represent possible redemption, is very marginal and gets coldly killed off-screen), you'll likely want to watch it a second time to see where the filmmakers and their narrative fooled you. That said, it does paint a picture of a pretty violent world, and the degree to which there's any philosophy or morality at work comes from Verbal Klint, who observes that Keyser Soze succeeds because he's willing to go farther and be meaner than other gangsters, and that, moreover, he's like the devil, "whose greatest trick was convincing the world that he didn't exist."
The mythic Soze works his ruthless will through unwitting dupes and hirelings, always staying in the background -- not unlike Voldemort from the Harry Potter tales. Unlike Potter, though, profanity is so thick here you'd swear the ship blows up at the start because of the heavy concentration of f-bombs.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.