Burnett directs with elegance and impeccably restrained rage, picking his way carefully through a pile of intertwined sub-plots that would bury most directors. He's especially well served by the colourful supporting cast, including slimeballs-for- hire Michael Ironside and M Emmet Walsh, and Elliott Gould in a docile cameo as the widower who seems more wracked with greed than guilt. Ice Cube has a terrific nobility about him, too, and this month sees him giving excellent performances in two lesser films, the sprawling college drama Higher Learning (20:20, rental) and the doped-up comedy Friday (Entertainment). All this hopefully means he'll be spending less time in the studio, which can only be good news.
The Usual Suspects is more opaque - it's not just about deceit, it has deception built into its very structure. The plot is simple - five crooks (including Oscar-nominated Kevin Spacey) convene at an identity parade and plan a heist. It's a maddening movie which elicits your faith before pulling a series of fast ones. But if you're prepared to take it on the chin, you'll relish its dust-dry humour and unfaltering grip. If not, it's the sort of picture that will have you taking a brickbat to the TV.Reuse content