Usual Suspects

It’s been over two decades since “The Usual Suspects” came out.  So if you haven’t seen it, don’t read today’s blog.  That’s my spoiler warning.

This afternoon we had some friends over to watch “The Usual Suspects”.  For a film that is over 20 years old, it still holds up.  Especially since I was the only one who had seen the film previously.  I am still not convinced of who Keyser Söze really is.  All we have is a tale woven by a man named Verbal Kint explaining the events that lead up to the final crime.  We as an audience are following along by a guy who claims he is not a rat.  Two quotes from the film make me doubt who is the real Söze.

Who is Keyser Söze? He is supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Söze. You never knew. That was his power.

The description of the man behind the plan tells a tale of his origins.  Further on in the film, Verbal Kint talks about what made Keyser Söze so hard skinned and borderline evil.

You think you can catch Keyser Söze? You think a guy like that comes this close to getting caught and sticks his head out? If he comes up for anything, it will be to get rid of me. After that… my guess is you’ll never hear from him again.

This line from Verbal towards the end of the film isn’t to mock the police about how close they’ve come.  It is to tell them that no matter what, Verbal will be found and killed.  

As the film draws to an end, Verbal is walking down the street and his crippled movements vanish.  He gets into a car and is taken away.  Wow, Verbal is Keyser Söze.  I disagree.

Kobayashi is the real Keyser Söze.  He plays on the fears of all the criminals.  He is emotionless as he is held at gun point but continues to prove the power of Söze.  The female lawyer is shown meeting with him and later in the film Verbal is told that she is found dead in a hotel room.  

He is the man who picks up Verbal in the car at the end as well.  Verbal was his right hand man, assisting in the orchestration of the crime.  Even the police sketch appears to be a mix of the two men.

Verbal is picked up by Kobayashi.  Perhaps to be killed, as he described to the officer earlier.  Verbal knows he can’t escape, so he just accepts his fate and gets in the car.

That’s my take on a film that came out around the time of other great plot twist movies.  Many of those films heavy in dialogue, really having to tell the story instead of show it.  It’s always fun to see the reactions of friends who have never seen them.  

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