If THE USUAL SUSPECTS was a guy in a bar, it would be the bourbon-soaked philosopher who spins elegantly cynical shaggy-dog stories that seem far less compelling in the light of the following day. Widely touted as this year's RESERVOIR DOGS, it's all about five

creeps (Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Spacey) who meet in a police lineup. They cook up an elaborate heist that goes terribly wrong; one lives to tell the tale, in a convoluted series of flashbacks. Screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie's tough-guy dialogue and

Bryan Singer's crisp direction give the ensemble cast every opportunity to shine, and they do.