- Or he could be passing himself off as the hero-worshipper he's already spent the entire movie pretending to be, seemingly guilt-ridden for leaving the man he admired to die.
- 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.
This creates a different scenario for how the climax on the boat went down:
- 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.
- Kobayashi arrives separately.
- Keaton, McManus and Hockney attack the pier, killing most of the thugs.
- Keaton and McManus board the ship to find the dope.
- Verbal murders anyone else remaining on the pier, including Hockney (with the exception of the truck driver killed by Hockney and Arkosh Kovash.)
- Verbal signals Kobayashi, who murders Arturro Marquez and his guard.
- Either Kobayashi or Verbal stabs McManus.
- The remaining thugs are killed offscreen.
- 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.
- Verbal sets fire to the boat and leaves.
- At this point, Edie is possibly dead, or Verbal or Kobayashi kills her shortly afterward.
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?
It fits with the fact that Word of God says the role was actually written with Spacey in mind.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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?