Last night, I was watching The Usual Suspects while I was waiting for Rome to come on. Suspects is a minor favorite of mine - it'd probably make my Top 50 films, but not my Top 30 - but as much as I like it, I don't watch it that often. So, with all that time gone by, I left it on and came to a new realization: The Usual Suspects looks really low budget. They must've spent the majority of the money on securing the excellent cast, because if you watch it with what I've said in mind you'll find...
- that the lighting is kinda lame, especially in the jail/outside the jail at the beginning, and during the parking garage heist.
- that alot of the settings are very guerrilla-friendly, ya know, set up & shoot. The Asian temple, the parking garage, that tube where they bury Fenster... pretty much any exterior shots except the big set pieces on the docks. Alot of quick establishing shots are also used, like shots of random non-descript windows on buildings, then cut to the interior which then dictates what kind of building it is.
- that the costumes could be straight out of the actor's closets, especially Stephen Baldwin & his cheesy motorcycle jacket (WAY too recognizable for a criminal trying not to be ID'd). Redfoot ends up being the coolest muthafucker in the film, with his sweet tan leather coat.
So, next time you see The Usual Suspects, keep an eye out. It doesn't reflect negatively on the film really... in fact, it illustrates even more how Bryan Singer made the most of what he had. Plus, Kevin Spacey still turns in one of the greatest performances of all time.