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The Usual Suspects

In the 70s, Keyser Soze decided to fund a comedy troupe using the alias "Monty Python"
He needed a break from endless killing, and decided that the world needed a few more laughs, so he decided to front a few talented British comedians. Unfortunately, he couldn't shake his penchant for cloak and dagger tactics, and was only comfortable acting as a faceless Man Behind the Man. Hence, not even the comedians themselves have any idea who the hell "Monty Python" really is (or if he even exists), yet he continues to influence the world of comedy to this day. He has become an elusive, mythic figure whose name is synonymous with "surreal, eccentric humor". In short, he is the Keyser Soze of comedy.

Verbal Kint confessed to the murder of Dean Keaton during the interrogation
Towards the end of the movie, Kujan accuses "Verbal" of lying about the death of Dean Keaton. Kujan claims that Verbal couldn't possibly have actually witnessed Keaton's death, and given that Keaton had faked his death before, he could still be alive. Kujan's screaming leads Verbal Kint to yell out, briefly, "I did, I did kill Keaton!" Before quickly correcting himself, "I mean, I saw Keaton get shot." Kujan doesn't notice because he's so convinced that Keaton's guilty, he didn't hear that Verbal literally said, "I killed Dean Keaton" In that little slip, Keyser Soze nearly gives the game away.
The real Keyser Soze is the guy that Verbal called "Kobayashi"
Verbal looks about the same age as Kevin Spacey, who was 36 at the time of filming. Kobayashi appears to be in his late forties/early fifties (his actor Pete Postlethwaite was 49 years old at the time of the movie's release), which gives more room for the time it would probably take to become one of the most powerful criminals in the world. He's less amazingly steeped in American culture, vernacular and geography for a Turkish crime lord than Verbal, he never gets directly involved, let alone enters a police station and gives clues that could ruin a cherished identity, etc. Verbal Kint's a real guy, a conman (obviously a much more capable one than he claimed), he's just faking his cerebral palsy. He's Keyser Soze's infiltrator who helps him stay on top, and as part of their arrangement also even poses as Keyser for certain situations, such as on the boat, while "Kobayashi" remains completely behind the scenes and his face remains a secret. Intended? Doubtful. Plausible? Certainly.
  • I like that theory-I kind of thought something similar was possible- as you say, "Kobayashi" is Soze and the guy we know as Verbal is actual "Kobayashi"- Soze's Amoral Attorney and/or Dragon.
    • I assumed this much after about the second viewing based on the scene where they have Kobayashi at gun point and he seemingly calmly tells them they can kill him and it won't matter. Watching it again, there seems to be a small amount of doubt and tremor possibly in his voice. Maybe not... but maybe so? He'd obviously not touch Verbal if Verbal was his second-I-command.
The twist ending is partially conscious of one twist ending from The Twilight Zone
(To give credit where credit is due, this WMG came from my Film Arts professor). In "The Howling Man", a man lets the Devil escape imprisonment, allowing Satan free reign to cause evil—in The Reveal, where the scraggly, incapacitated prisoner gains the horns, pointy ears, trimmed beard, and controlled demeanor more normally used as shorthand for Lucifer over the course of a brisk walk, the man realizes what just happened but is powerless to undo the mistake. Considering that Soze is consistently compared to the Devil, and Kobayashi's demeanor when you see him driving the getaway car is nearly demonic, it is possible that there is a very subtle Shout-Out gong on here. But it may just be coincidence; there are enough dissimilarities for it.

If nothing else, the music is kind of similar. Observe the ending montage in The Usual Suspects and the ending montage in the episode in question.


This creates a different scenario for how the climax on the boat went down:

  1. Keaton, McManus, Verbal and Hockney arrive at the pier, Keaton gives orders to Verbal to stay back and take the money if the deal goes bad.
  2. Kobayashi arrives separately.
  3. Keaton, McManus and Hockney attack the pier, killing most of the thugs.
  4. Keaton and McManus board the ship to find the dope.
  5. Verbal murders anyone else remaining on the pier, including Hockney (with the exception of the truck driver killed by Hockney and Arkosh Kovash.)
  6. Verbal signals Kobayashi, who murders Arturro Marquez and his guard.
  7. Either Kobayashi or Verbal stabs McManus.
  8. The remaining thugs are killed offscreen.
  9. Verbal creeps up on the ladder and shoots Keaton, goes down the ladder and finishes him off. Keaton refers to Verbal as "Keyser," hence Kovash's description of Keyser Soze matches Verbal.
  10. Verbal sets fire to the boat and leaves.
  11. At this point, Edie is possibly dead, or Verbal or Kobayashi kills her shortly afterward.

Keyser Soze is the Greek's son
Consider their near identical business operations and practises. Both are concerned with drugs, human trafficking and murder. They both remain behind the scenes having others as their spokesmen. Now consider Soze's possibly German father and the fact that the Greek says he is not really Greek.The story Verbal tells Kujan about Soze in Turkey is actually the story of the Greek before he came to America, where he had a son who would be a naturalised U.S. citizen. They both use the legend to create a mythical supernatural status, He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Fucked-With.

Other than changing the names, where he was on the docks during the final shootout, and that he's Keyser Soze
Verbal Kint told Kujan the real story.Verbal tells the truth to Kujan, knowing already that Kujan's obsession with Keaton and the fact Keaton had faked his death in the past would blind Kujan from the truth. And allow Verbal to walk away...

Keaton knew Verbal Kint was Keyser Soze all along but didn't think Soze would kill him
.Keaton was the only one among the other criminals who knew Kint and could vouch for him. Keaton's background as a crooked cop who kept having all these lucky breaks happen his way suggested Soze was his guardian angel for a long time, waiting for the opportune moment to call in his favor.

It never was about killing the 'one person who could identify Söze'.
Headscratchers seems to have established that if the entire set-up (assuming, aside from the obvious details, that Verbal is more or less telling the truth about what happened) was really about getting rid of the single person who could identify Keyser Söze, the events at the very end of the film basically render everything a rather bad loss for Söze. But think about it realistically for a moment and you realise that there's almost no way this man can be that elusive; and even if he is, what actual threat is the mere ability to identify a face with an urban legend? Without solid evidence of crimes, Söze's as scott-free as ever whether someone outside his organisation can put a face to his name or not. So it's very unlikely that whatever the Suspects were brought upon that ship to do, it was to provide a cover for Söze to kill the supposed sole person who can identify him. It may well have been to let him kill the Hungarian, but whatever reason he had to want to do that so badly most likely wasn't that he could identify him.

Of course, that doesn't stop the idea of the faceless criminal out to assassinate the one man who does know his face being an incredibly powerful story tool for Verbal to use on Kujan, as is attested to by its enduring nature among real-life viewers. It's perfect for his purposes; it draws Kujan in, gets him interested in Söze, and gives him a Magnificent Bastard persona to attach to his hated figure of Keaton, but nothing in the way of useful clues as to Söze's real motive for being on the ship that night - of course, what would be extremely useful for Kujan is finding some of the solid evidence mentioned earlier to pin to Verbal/Söze, rather than just a spectre of hearsay from the criminal underworld. And, just for the icing on the cake, it makes Söze (i.e. Verbal himself) just sound badass. The guy may be a pragmatist, but he that doesn't mean he has no ego whatsoever, right?

Related to the previous entry. In Verbal's story, Soze got revenge on the other mob bosses by killing off their families, their contacts, etc. The Hungarian on the ship was the final person he needed to kill to complete his revenge. As his revenge is complete, he retires with his ill-gotten gains to some remote place and is never active again, which is why he doesn't care about the police knowing what he looks like. "And like that, he's gone."
Soze and Kint are both inventions
It seems pretty obvious on further reflection: why throw around a name like Keyser Soze if you have the means and skills to essentially change from one skill to another? What if Kevin Spacey's character is not actually known as Keyser Söze, he's probably not even Turkish - it's a story made up by him in the persona of Kint, who also is a made up character. In the end, the police have two names the have no use for. After all, a name like Keyser Söze (which to a German speaker still sounds like Kaiser Sauce) is likely to be fake. Sure, Soze exists as a carefully placed myth, but remains as such. Spacey's character disappears, and without probable cause, his mugshot will soon be forgotten. The Kint persona and possibly the Soze persona have both served their purpose and will be shed like an old skin - or as Kint put it "And then ... you'll probably never hear of him again."
The part of Keyser Soze was written specifically for Kevin Spacey
Why else would they have the same initials?

It fits with the fact that Word of God says the role was actually written with Spacey in mind.

The Keyser Söze in the film is not the original Soze. He's his son.
Assuming he's the same as Kevin Spacey, Verbal Kint doesn't look old enough to have been married with children. However, it wouldn't be too shocking if he was simply Keyser Söze's son continuing the family tradition of being a Magnificent Bastard. The story about Soze shooting his children is true, but Verbal Kint is simply the kid who survived by hiding when the thugs came in.

Keaton and Verbal helped Hockney with the truck hijacking at the beginning of the movie
Two of the other three brought to the lineup (Fenster and McManus) are the ones who play around, but Verbal, Keaton and Hockney are the ones who answer the question straight. Hockney is said by Kobayashi to be the one who did it. But since Keaton and Verbal also read the line straight, they may have also been in on it in an unspecified way.

Verbal Kint's escape was in Kujan's head.
This is not to say that he didn't escape, he did. But rather, every event that Kujan is not present for is seen through Kujan's imagination. This is the only way to explain the presence of Kobayashi, after he was established as a fiction. Except that Kobayashi turns out to be a real person, though probably not with that name.

All of the events Verbal Kint described to Kujan really did happen, just not the way they were shown onscreen

At the very least, the names of the parties involved, such as Redfoot and Kobayashi, were clearly invented by Verbal on the spot, and his descriptions of where he was when the others got killed during the attack on the boat all appear to be untrue.

However, we see that the person who he referred to as "Kobayashi" is real, as he is the guy who picks Verbal up at the end, and more likely than not is the lawyer who posted Verbal's bail. So it's likely that the events that happened were true, but certain aspects may have been fabricated or several of the names changed in order to keep Kujan from being able to trace anyone who had actually been involved with Verbal, thus preserving the Keyser Söze identity ("Kobayashi" clearly has a different name. The same may go for "Redfoot", however, there's a theory that Redfoot's actor Peter Greene isn't credited because his character never existed). For example, the gang's meeting with "Kobayashi" where he gives them their police files and assigns them to rob the ship of the supposed cocaine and money probably happened. In addition, the murders of Saul Berg and his bodyguards, and the robbery of the New York's Finest Taxi Service, and the fact that all five men were rounded up by the NYPD for a lineup, were certainly true (and Keaton's arrest definitely went down the way it's shown on film because Kujan was present for it), and such facts could be easily confirmed with a few phone calls to the LAPD and the NYPD. The important key to being a great liar is to stick as closely to the truth as possible. In this case, it means that many of the broad outlines of the story which Verbal told are true.

Kujan was lying when he said Edie was dead.
  • It would be like him to say something bad about Keaton to make himself feel better and force Verbal to "confess" that Keaton was the mastermind. Anyway, it's never said who's version of Keaton is real, Verbal's or Kujan's.

McManus is just as likely as Verbal or Keaton to be Keyser Soze.
  • Kobayashi mentions that all five of them played a hand in the deaths of Saul Berg "and his bodyguards." Verbal killed Berg, but who shot the bodyguards? McManus.
  • All three are still alive when Marquez and his guard are shot dead, since Fenster was killed by Kobayashi on the beach and Hockney was shot before Marquez was found and killed.

Keyser Soze is simply a regular Eastern European crime boss
  • He is just one of several powerful criminals in Eastern Europe, and is attempting to expand into the U.S. He is known as "The Devil' , this is simply a nickname in the same way mafia members have nicknames. He has recently attempted to expand into the U.S. or has connections here, but does not spend much time in the country, so police do not see him as special and cannot identify him. Verbal has simply blown up his abilities/story for Kujan's benefit. This would explain how the hungarian knew who Soze was (Soze is simply one of several known figures in the area), while Jack Baer has simply heard random stories but nothing more specific (Soze does business with people, but at a distance and is not a major figure in the U.S.) The suspects were simply a random group of people accused of a truck hijacking, who Soze found useful to attack the boat, but all the kobayshi blackmail files are simply an invention of Verbal. Otherwise, Verbal's story is mostly accurate. the "verbal" disquise is simply a clever trick Soze uses to operate in the U.S., not a representation of how all powerful he is.

  • The story than goes something like: a collection of criminals was arrested for a hijacking, including Soze pretending to be verbal. Soze decided to join in their plans for berg and the Taxi Service to get some extra money. Soze hears about the trade on the boat, decides to take out some organized crime opponents, and sets the suspects up to do the job in a standard way. When Fenster backs out, Soze talks to some contacts and has him killed. The suspects attack the boat, some hungarians recognize Soze as he walks around, and almost everyone gets killed. Soze as verbal than talks to the police. When Kujan wants to ask him questions, Soze acts confident, as he has learned to do, but agrees anyway as he does not want to annoy the police and does not completely understand the U.S. legal system. Soze is able to tell a story well and leaves, but will now be known in the U.S. thanks to the sketch and Kujan figuring it out.
    • The problem with this is that Verbal was able to get an immunity deal because someone very powerful was protecting him - Rabin says that he is "protected from up on high by the Prince of Darkness", mentioning that the Mayor and the Governor seemed to be working to get Verbal out. This means that Soze, or someone working for him, does have significant influence in the United States and does understand the US legal system well enough to protect him. It's also important to note that Verbal was only charged with a weapons misdemeanor and that he already has an immunity deal - importantly, not for the testimony he gave to Kujan (which was just Kujan spending the two hours before Verbal posted bail following up on theories in his free time), but for sealed testimony that we never see and which may, in fact, be accurate (ie. even if Kujan figures it out, it may mean nothing - it's very possible based on the intro that Verbal has already confessed the truth in sealed testimony in exchange for immunity and was purely screwing with Kujan the entire time. After all, given the extremely generous terms of the immunity deal, Verbal would have no reason to lie and risk it.)

Verbal already confessed the truth in his sealed testimony in exchange for immunity, so nothing Kujan does could actually accomplish anything. Verbal was just screwing with him the whole time.
  • After the intro scene, the first lines state that, in relation to Verbal, "the district attorney will accept the subject's testimony in connection with the above mentioned events and in exchange will offer complete immunity. The transcript... The transcript of said testimony will be sealed and all matters incriminating to Mr. Kint will be rendered inadmissible." Note that this testimony is not what we see - this happens afterwards, purely to sate Kujan's curiosity (he says "This won't be an' interrogation, just a... friendly chat to kill time.") Rabin even points out that Kujan is wasting his time, since Verbal has total immunity; and it's very likely, given that the testimony was sealed, that Kujan doesn't know what's in it. It's very possible that it's entirely accurate, as far as it goes, and that Kujan therefore can't do anything even if he figures it all out. "Being Keyser Söze" isn't a crime, after all, and if Verbal already laid out everything Kujan deduced in exchange for immunity, Kujan can't do anything even if he figures it all out.

Keyser Soze's family is fine.
  • Not only do we only have Verbal's word on what happened to them, we only have Verbal's word that the story of what happened to them is a thing. It's a cool story, but what if that's all it is? Verbal/Keyser made it up and spread it around to impress people with how ruthless and uncompromising he is. Plus, it stops people from going after his family — why would they, when everybody knows that they're dead already?

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