Rated: R for violence and excessive obscenities. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: August 16, 1995 Released by: Gramercy Pictures
There's nothing "usual" about this complex thriller with its surprising twists and turns.
Five crooks are rounded up by the police for a line up when a truckload of gun parts is hijacked. The main characters, played by Kevin Pollack, Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne and Stephen Baldwin are put in the save holding cell. Although strangers, they knew of each other's work and decide to plan a jewelry heist together.
After the robbery, the cons are contacted by a lawyer claiming to be the emissary of a mysterious killer, Kaiser Sosa. He tries to enlist them into stealing drugs from a docked Hungarian ship. Although none of the men know who Sosa ism they had heard of his notorious reputation. In fact, his deeds were so disturbing, there was a mythical quality given him. If not feared, he was discussed in hushed tones.
None of the men wanted to work for Sosa but each was given a dossier on themselves describing their criminal pasts, including thefts in which Sosa was the injured party. However, they had little choice, as Sosa's emissary promised quick revenge on their families if they didn't participate.
The story is told by Kevin Spacey's character, a crippled, small time crook who talks so much his nickname is "Verbal." He's excellent as the nervous, talkative narrator.
Almost from the beginning, you get the sense that someone is manipulating these men's lives from behind the scenes, but you don't know who or why. The plot is intricate with flashbacks played in shadows, dangerous heists and faceless killers.
The direction is slick and the actors at top form. Everything works together to make this an exciting, edge-of-your-seat thriller.