We’re not telling. But if The Usual Suspects whets your appetite, check out these thrillers with equally convoluted plots and twist endings sure to provoke either an ”Aha!” or a ”Huh?”
House of Games
The setup: In director David Mamet’s postmodern conundrum, a bottled-up shrink (Lindsay Crouse) who’s drawn to a gang of thieves (headed by Joe Mantegna) becomes enmeshed in murder and blackmail. How’s the payoff? The doctor’s little trick involving a cigarette lighter cleverly completes the puzzle.
No Way Out
The setup: A naval officer (Kevin Costner) has an affair with a party girl (Sean Young), who is then killed by her other lover, the secretary of defense (Gene Hackman). This forces the sailor into an investigation that may implicate him when — whew! — the crime is blamed on a supposed Soviet mole named Yuri. How’s the payoff? Two tickets to Moscow for the viewer who can predict the outrageous final zinger.
The setup: A mail clerk (Tim Robbins) becomes unhinged by hideous dreams and hallucinations. Is he just going postal or suffering the aftereffects of a secret government drug experiment that backfired? How’s the payoff? The head-scratching conspiracy story line gets undone by a cop-out resolution that leaves too many rungs unattached.
The setup: A psychiatrist (Richard Gere) treats a neurotic (Uma Thurman) while having an affair with her sister (Kim Basinger). After one of them kills her brutish husband, he discovers that both sisters are quite twisted. How’s the payoff? So complicated, you’ll rewind to double-check every aspect of the crime.
The setup: Flashbacks and crosscutting reveal how four characters (a sad-sack tax inspector, a stripper, a gay pet smuggler, and a deejay) are inextricably linked. How’s the payoff? Transcends erotic-thriller gimmickry with its final haunting revelations.