The Usual Suspects appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image was watchable but inconsistent.
Definition was inconsistent. I noticed some light edge enhancement at times, and sharpness varied. Some shots demonstrated good clarity, and the movie never seemed genuinely soft, but it tended to be on the mushy side of the street. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but occasional source flaws appeared. A mix of small specks and marks cropped up through the film. Though these werenít heavy, they created more than a few distractions.
Colors looked decent to good. The hues tended to be a bit heavy but were acceptable and occasionally showed good vivacity, though they were never especially dynamic. Blacks appeared dark and tight, but shadows were a little muddy. That wasnít a terrible issue, and most low-light scenes looked okay, but the dark scenes tended to be a bit dense .
As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio, Suspects was a very chatty film, and the soundfield remained oriented toward the forward spectrum. In that realm, music showed very good stereo spread and presence, while effects also demonstrated solid breadth and movement at times. During a lot of the film, those elements largely remained in the center, but at times, the mix came more to life and offered clean panning and a nicely blended track.
Surround usage tended to remain within the dimension of general reinforcement. The music worked especially well in that regard, as the rear speakers neatly enhanced the score. Effects also worked nicely in some scenes, especially those that involved gunfire or explosions.
Speech seemed warm and natural through the movie, and I discerned no edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Effects appeared clean and accurate, and they boasted good bass response when appropriate; elements like foghorns or explosions offered solid oomph. Music worked best of all, as the score seemed clear and bright, and it also featured nice depth and dynamic range. Overall, the mix for The Usual Suspects lacked the sonic ambition to merit an ďAĒ-level grade, but it still earned a solid ďB+Ē.
How did the picture and audio of this Blu-ray compare to those of the 2002 Special Edition DVD? Audio remained pretty similar, as the lossless mix added a little depth but not a lot.
Visuals were more complicated. For its format, the DVD looked very good, but the extra resolution of Blu-ray made this disc superior. It didnít blow away its predecessor, but even with its problems, the Blu-ray was the stronger release.
Though the 2002 DVD included tons of extras, virtually none of them appear here. We find the trailer for Suspects as well as ads for Flyboys, Windtalkers, Rocky, Bulletproof Monk, Phone Booth, Kiss of the Dragon, Speed and Fantastic Four.
For this release, the disc comes in a hardcover book. It includes essays from Richard Tanne and Travis Baker, cast/crew biographies, trivia and photos. The book adds some decent value to the set.
But not for its asking price. The Usual Suspects remains a terrific film. Mysteries/thrillers donít get much better than this, as the flick fires on all cylinders. Crisply written, briskly directed, and wonderfully acted, thereís little about which I can complain, and God knows I love to complain!
This Blu-ray is less memorable, unfortunately. Audio is good, but the set lacks substantial supplements and displays erratic, generally average visuals. Suspects could use a new transfer Ė and a Blu-ray that ports over the old DVDís bonus materials.
If you donít want to wait for an upgraded Blu-ray that may never arrive, Iíd recommend that you go with the standard release of Suspects. It offers the same disc as this version and lists for $15 less than this book edition. While I like the book, itís not worth an additional $15, so stick with the regular Blu-ray if you want a copy of the film.
To rate this film visit the Special Edition review of THE USUAL SUSPECTS