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The Many Deaths of Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey as Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects

by Marko Peric

To mangle a quote from one of my favourite movies, Blade Runner, I've written questionable things. Some of the content that I've posted here in the past might reflect poor taste or judgment or just poor sense. But nothing up to now has been in taste this bad. If you are easily offended, you might want to click the <back> button now. That said, on with the questionable material. Originally I was going to go with "Movies in which Kevin Spacey gets shot in the head" but there weren't enough of those to be that narrowly specific, so I've widened the topic somewhat. Now let's be clear on why this is in such poor taste. I'm not reviewing movies here. I'm rating the scenes in which Kevin Spacey gets killed. I'm looking at how, why, and how appropriate it was to the movie. Like I said at the beginning, this is in really bad taste. So if you find this offensive, why on Earth are you still reading it?

Also, be warned that this obviously contains spoilers for several movies that feature Kevin Spacey. If you don't want to be spoiled, don't read any further.

Se7en: As serial killer John Doe, Spacey is laconic and creepy and downright evil, and I don't think anyone is sorry when he gets shot. He certainly deserves to die. Thing is, this final scene is all set up by Doe so that he'll get shot by Brad Pitt's character, and therefore complete the seven killings based on the seven deadly sins, so even though he's dead, he still wins. That's pretty twisted. Also, like the rest of the movie, it's seriously Ugly.

L.A. Confidential: It's interesting. Kevin Spacey was the biggest star in this movie when it was made, but that's rather debatable now, as Russell Crowe is now a bona fide star and Guy Pearce is also a hot property. A lot of people get killed in LA Confidential, both good guys and bad guys, but even the good guys are not particularly innocent, so it's hard to pass judgment on that. It's not hard to pass judgment on Kevin's death, though. When he gets shot it's non-climatic and it's well before the finale. You don't get to kill off the star before the finale unless the star is Humphrey Bogart and you're making The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. To do otherwise would be Bad.

Consenting Adults: Have you seen this movie? I'm willing to bet that the answer is no. Considering it only grossed around 20 mil that's not surprising. I happened to see it on TV one time, and it was mildly interesting. Not good enough to recommend, but interesting, and most importantly, Kevin Spacey dies in a violent confrontation at the end. And since he is the bad guy, and a very bad guy at that, one who kills his own wife and frames someone else for it, then steals that guy's wife, you're cheering for his death. So I guess that's Good, or at least as good as cheering for someone's death can be.

Outbreak: This goes in the "Oh yeah, he was in that," category. Outbreak was a half decent flick for a movie about hemorrhagic fever. Here's the thing, though — I can't remember if Kevin's character dies. I know he's really, really sick with the virus, and they don't have the antidote yet, then Renee Russo gets sick, and the screenwriter seems to have mostly ignored Kevin from then on. That, and I haven't seen the movie in several years, so I don't really remember. And I didn't feel like renting it just to research this. Deal with it. But I'm going to assume that death from hemorrhagic fever would be really Ugly.

American Beauty: This is the movie which won Kevin Spacey his second academy award (best supporting actor in The Usual Suspects was the first) along with a truckload of other awards and which people raved about for months. When I got around to seeing it I had to say that it wasn't nearly as good as I expected. And at the end Kevin Spacey takes a bullet through the head over a misunderstanding. So, whether you like the movie or not, the ending is a bit hard to take. All the while you get to like and empathize with Kevin's character, then it's all ended with a single bullet. And he's done nothing to deserve this, so of course it's Bad.



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