The Usual Suspects question (spoilers)

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Aoidoi
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The Usual Suspects question (spoilers)

Post by Aoidoi »

I thought this movie the most clever thing ever when I first saw it. So much "was it really, what's it mean, who's lying" and it all seemed to make sense at the end.

But the last time I saw it I had the silly idea. If the gimp Roger 'Verbal' Kint is actually Keyser Soze, and he orchestrated the whole thing to eliminate one guy who had seen his face, doesn't it defeat the entire purpose of that to have the cops etc. having seen him? Wouldn't he now have to kill them, cause they all know what he looks like? (not to mention the sketch from the burned guy)

I mean, sure he's an evil mastermind, but didn't he totally blow it? The only thing he managed to do right was to get away from one cop.

Anybody else have any thoughts on this?

(edited for name info I got from IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114814/)
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Post by Aoidoi »

Would it help if I implied that the entire movie was somehow xouper's fault? :twisted:
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Post by Grammatron »

Xouper? Well that does it, I am replying! :P

Actually I had to watch it again, yeah that does make one think. However, here's what a possible answer may be. He couldn't just kill that cop in the police station, could he? His first priority was to get away. Now the possibility exists that he may off the cop at his leisurely convenience. Or he wanted to punish that crew and doesn't really care about being seen, offing that guy was simply a bonus during the operation. That's what I am thinking.

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Post by Aoidoi »

It has since occurred to me that perhaps the guy playing "Kobayashi" was actually Keyser Soze, and Verbal was working for him. Was it ever actually established that Verbal was the one who shot the crooked cop ( Dean Keaton)? After being shot on the boat he says "it's you," but he knew Kobayashi, so he could have meant him.

Any big holes with that theory? Verbal was the right hand man, and Kobayashi was the Keyser?
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Post by Grammatron »

But didn't the guy who was describing "Keyser Soze" to the scatch artist describe Verbal? Let's consult Mr. DVD....

Yeah Kevin Spacey plays the Soze, I also cheated and listened to the Audio Commentary :)

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Post by Mr Manifesto »

Ah, but it isn't as simple as that! For somewhere, I have a book that interviewed the writer of TUS, and he's on record as saying that the director and he have very different ideas as to who Kaiser Soze is. And, I believe, there is a way of interpreting the movie so that Gabriel Byrne's character is Soze. Apparently, it helps if you remember that Kint is a liar.
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Post by Andonyx »

Mr Manifesto wrote:Ah, but it isn't as simple as that! For somewhere, I have a book that interviewed the writer of TUS, and he's on record as saying that the director and he have very different ideas as to who Kaiser Soze is. And, I believe, there is a way of interpreting the movie so that Gabriel Byrne's character is Soze. Apparently, it helps if you remember that Kint is a liar.
Then why would the Hungarian word Soze mean "Verbal." If you ask me that's a hard textual allusion to get around.

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Post by Grammatron »

Andonyx wrote: Then why would the Hungarian word Soze mean "Verbal." If you ask me that's a hard textual allusion to get around.
That's a cool thing to know!

Did you know that when watching the movie, if so did that spoil it for you? Also, how do they translate it so Hungarians can watch the movie?

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Post by Andonyx »

Grammatron wrote:
Andonyx wrote: Then why would the Hungarian word Soze mean "Verbal." If you ask me that's a hard textual allusion to get around.
That's a cool thing to know!

Did you know that when watching the movie, if so did that spoil it for you? Also, how do they translate it so Hungarians can watch the movie?
To the first question, no I didn't...the wonders of dating a linguist.

To the second question....uhhhhh....ionno?

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Post by Andonyx »

Andonyx wrote:
Grammatron wrote:
Andonyx wrote: Then why would the Hungarian word Soze mean "Verbal." If you ask me that's a hard textual allusion to get around.
That's a cool thing to know!

Did you know that when watching the movie, if so did that spoil it for you? Also, how do they translate it so Hungarians can watch the movie?
To the first question, no I didn't...the wonders of dating a linguist.

To the second question....uhhhhh....ionno?
Woops, I'm informed it's actually from Turkish for Verbal, although the Hungarian may not be far different. My bad.

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Post by Grammatron »

Andonyx wrote:
Andonyx wrote:
To the first question, no I didn't...the wonders of dating a linguist.

To the second question....uhhhhh....ionno?
Woops, I'm informed it's actually from Turkish for Verbal, although the Hungarian may not be far different. My bad.
How about your date, was it a spoiler for them when they heard it?

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Post by Andonyx »

Grammatron wrote:
Andonyx wrote:
Andonyx wrote:
To the first question, no I didn't...the wonders of dating a linguist.

To the second question....uhhhhh....ionno?
Woops, I'm informed it's actually from Turkish for Verbal, although the Hungarian may not be far different. My bad.
How about your date, was it a spoiler for them when they heard it?
As I recall it was more of a later realization...like "well, duh why didn't I notice that this meant that?"

But I'll ask when I have the chance.

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Post by Doctor X »

On the video, if you pause the final sequence when Verbal is leaving and Agent Kuyan is "piecing it together" and you see the "silouetted" Soze firing the gun at Keaton--and see then the quite obviously dead Keaton--you see in the light of the gun fire it is Kevin "Verbal Kint" Spacey firing the gun.

There are other "hints." Verbal cannot use a lighter that has a "Zippo" top that flips open while in the police office, but he lights a cigarrete with one during the story . . . then it is one of the possessions he picks up in property!

It seems that Soze/Kindt is very good at improve. He puts together his story from bits around him. Therefore, he reacts well to a "bad situation." The danger the "guy on the boat" served was not just that he could identify him, but that he could discuss his deals--the money trail.

Kobayashi is an ODD name for a South African . . . if that is what the wonderful Pete Postlewaith is!! . . . lawyer! In the story, his offices are covered in Japanese ideograms. This is clearly some fiction . . . how much?!

His lawyer legally beat up the DA--"The DA was ready to indict! After thirty minutes with Kindt's lawyer, he looked like the bogey man beat him up!!" The mayor calls, the governor calls, "this guy is protected on high by the prince of darkness himself!" Thus he has influence. How? A crippled swindler? Is it through the "lawyer?"--who may be a lawyer for all we know.

In the "story" Kindt admits to shooting Sol Berg--drug dealer. Did that happen? Redfoot was a fictional character--unless "Redfoot" was a fake name. Why would Kindt admit to a premeditated murder in a drug deal? It presents a very different character than that of a bumbling, wimpy cripple. Indeed, Spacey's look when shooting Berg is very different than any seen before--save the interestingly quiet, "Are you trying to get a rise out of me, Agent Kuyan?" You see it again when Kindt/Soze sits in the car next to "Kobayashi." He stares calmly and matter-of-factly ahead.

So, perhaps some of the story you see is what he tells, some is what actually happened, and some is just . . . well . . . who knows?

That is why I like the film. It does not explain everything though it gives plenty of hints.

Did the Soze story about his wife and children happen? Remember, in the sequence it looks like Antonio Banderas walked out of Desperado as Soze. Hardly anything like the scrawny Kindt. Did it actually happen?

Just a story, a "good story" Kuyan and others would believe? Certainly, they probably imagine a character very different than the one telling the story.

Kindt could not have "told" the whole boat story to Kuyan--with our favorite sniveling guy in the bathrobe screaming, "KEYSER SOZE!!!"--for example. He was not there! So perhaps some is what actually happened. Kindt as Soze also would not have been in the cabin while the guy is warning about Soze! So some of the story we see is not actually known by Kindt/Soze or told to Kuyan.

How much of that is real? Again, did he really kill the drug dealer and just not mention it? However, Redfoot, again, is a fiction. Is the name just a cover? In the ending, it is implied Redfoot is just that . . . a fictitious character. Kuyan and the Lt. will search in vain for a "Redfoot" and a dead drug dealer named "Sol Berg."

Similarly, they will search in vain for a lawyer named Kobayashi.

Verbal/Soze knows that insignificant details make a story believable--"why would he make this up?" Thus, throwing out things like picking coffee or "this guy was fat, I mean orca fat" lends credibility and keeps the Lt. and Agent off their guard. Keaton admits to Redfoot that he shived a guy in prison that Redfoot knew. A bit of spice to make the story believable?

Also, notice his reaction to the suprise of "Who is Keyser Soze?!" At first, there is no Keyser Soze. He hears the name, feigns surprise and fear, and then develops the story accordingly.

Oddly enough, he always states Keaton is dead. He denies Keaton wanted any part of the schemes. With prodding, he "admits" Keaton "planned everything" including the "City's Finest Cab Service" take-down. He even breaks down crying. Another act? Why not admit Soze was Keaton? Could he just be making Kuyan relax by believing he has "won" and "broke" Kindt--"admitting" what Kuyan wants to believe?

In a way, he covers his bases. He lets Agent Kuyan believe, at the end, that he has "proved" Keaton was the criminal mastermind he wanted him to be. If, for some reason, Kuyan had proof of Keaton's death or other details that would trip up Kindt/Soze, his story remains safe.

Given that we see a very dead Keaton--who was also paralyzed and says, "I can't feel my legs . . . Keyser,"--and the Crispy Hungarian describes Kindt killing people on the ship, I do not feel Keaton is Soze. I think it a "ruse," particularly given Kuyan's obsession with Keaton's previous "death."

Also, the "picture" from the burned Hungarian of the "Devil" "who shot many men" is clearly Kindt. The irony is it is too late.

Which brings us to a whole new question . . . was there EVER a Keyser Soze? Is it just a "hex sign" to "keep people fucking with you!" Story or not, the Black agent--whose character name I forget--knows "of" him. He talks about a collegue who others laugh about because he appears to be chasing a ghost. The crispy Hungarian knows the name. Is it a real figure or just another made-up name?

Clearly, there is no Verbal Kindt. He is a convenient cover--a cripple with a "record" of confidence schemes.

I have not yet obtained the DVD, so I have not heard the commentary. It could be possible that the writer and director differ a great deal. Of course, stories change as a movie develops. No big surprise there. I would be disappointed if the commentary "answers" everything! "You see, Kuyan is imagining the details . . . Kobayashi is really Keaton, Soze is really Hockney, and Verbal Kindt is really an out-of-work Elvis impersonator . . . it is all clear by the way Kuyan drops the coffee mug. . . ."

Bah!

Nicholas Meyer reacted negatively to such questions by Trekkies. They asked "why" Khan never removes one of his gloves--long before Michael Jackson made it a "trade mark!" "Why do you think he didn't remove it?!!" The "real answer," according to Meyer, is he told Montalban not to remove it just before he was about to because it would "look wierd!" Meyer than asks if "that" is a satisfying "answer." In another movie, Time After Time, Jack the Ripper appears by opening a pocket watch with a picture of a woman in it. Meyer lamented the numbers of people who "demanded" he tell them "who" the picture was.

Sometimes things are left to the imagination.

A guilty pleasure of mine is the Jeepers Creepers films . . . especially after learning the . . . er . . . "history" of the director. Anyways, he refuses to state "what" the Creeper "is." Reveals too much.

Thus, "answering everything" ultimately spoils a movie like The Usual Suspects.

Bottom line: as Kindt predicts to Agent Kuyan, he will never see Soze again.

"Like THAT! He's gone!"

--J.D.

[Edited to clear up various scribal errors.--Ed.]
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Re: !

Post by Marian »

I read an interview with Christopher McQuarrie (who wrote Usual Suspect). I forget where it was, but it was after the Sundance premiere of the movie. (I really should shell out for the special edition and listen to the commentary, I bet that's good).

Two things to keep in mind (and that he talked about in the interview so that gives additional information). First, Kaiser is Verbal. He said he went for the Agatha Christie "who is least likely" approach. So McQuarrie confirmed it (at least in the interview I read).

Second, Verbal/Kaiser is a liar. McQuarrie in the interview talked about working at a detective agency for 4 years, and you learn that all criminals are liars. They all have great stories, and they're all 'fucking liars'.

My personal opinion? The entire thing is a lie. You cannot believe *anything* Verbal/Kaiser says. Additionally you can't even always believe the police, since they're lying to Verbal to put pressure on him to give up information. The only information that's even remotely credible is information from multiple sources (the fax, the info in the files), but even that is tainted by the accounts of other people who, while being truthful, may have been lied to themselves. (Such as the cop who buys the story initially).

Who or what REALLY is Kaiser Soze? A myth. (My opinion, of course). Kaiser Soze doesn't really exist. Verbal/Kaiser exists but the myth of Kaiser Soze? It's all a lie. He's the boogieman. It's a fictional creation of Verbal/Kaiser as the ultimate scary boogieman supercrook, that allows him to run his business. And even what his business is exactly, isn't clear.

Why did they kill the guy on the ship? Well the police said he was the only person who could identify Kaiser Soze. So why kill him at such a high price, and expose himself? Perhaps because it wasn't so much that he could identify him, but also knew information about the various operations. That would be a much bigger liability. Maybe he even knew that the myth of Kaiser Soze was a bunch of bullshit (that part again being my opinion that it was built into a mythical supercriminal type character). Maybe that too was a lie, and there was an entirely different reason that they wanted to kill him.

The story about Kaiser gunning down his entire family? Good story, like all of Verbal's stories. And it builds the fear of Kaiser Soze. If he can do this to his family, who he presumably cared about, what could he do to his enemies. Again, mythic storytelling. (all this is just my opinion obviously :))

Why was the team assembled, what was really behind all of that? Who knows, the only information came from Verbal (everyone else is dead, well except Kobiashi (sp?)) and the only thing we know for sure about Verbal is that he's an extremely accomplished liar, and a fantastic story teller. So what's really true? Was it all a lie? You'll never know.

And just like that....he was gone. :D
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Re: !

Post by Cool Hand »

Marian wrote:I read an interview with Christopher McQuarrie (who wrote Usual Suspect). I forget where it was, but it was after the Sundance premiere of the movie. (I really should shell out for the special edition and listen to the commentary, I bet that's good).

Two things to keep in mind (and that he talked about in the interview so that gives additional information). First, Kaiser is Verbal. He said he went for the Agatha Christie "who is least likely" approach. So McQuarrie confirmed it (at least in the interview I read).

Second, Verbal/Kaiser is a liar. McQuarrie in the interview talked about working at a detective agency for 4 years, and you learn that all criminals are liars. They all have great stories, and they're all 'fucking liars'.

My personal opinion? The entire thing is a lie. You cannot believe *anything* Verbal/Kaiser says. Additionally you can't even always believe the police, since they're lying to Verbal to put pressure on him to give up information. The only information that's even remotely credible is information from multiple sources (the fax, the info in the files), but even that is tainted by the accounts of other people who, while being truthful, may have been lied to themselves. (Such as the cop who buys the story initially).

Who or what REALLY is Kaiser Soze? A myth. (My opinion, of course). Kaiser Soze doesn't really exist. Verbal/Kaiser exists but the myth of Kaiser Soze? It's all a lie. He's the boogieman. It's a fictional creation of Verbal/Kaiser as the ultimate scary boogieman supercrook, that allows him to run his business. And even what his business is exactly, isn't clear.

Why did they kill the guy on the ship? Well the police said he was the only person who could identify Kaiser Soze. So why kill him at such a high price, and expose himself? Perhaps because it wasn't so much that he could identify him, but also knew information about the various operations. That would be a much bigger liability. Maybe he even knew that the myth of Kaiser Soze was a bunch of bullshit (that part again being my opinion that it was built into a mythical supercriminal type character). Maybe that too was a lie, and there was an entirely different reason that they wanted to kill him.

The story about Kaiser gunning down his entire family? Good story, like all of Verbal's stories. And it builds the fear of Kaiser Soze. If he can do this to his family, who he presumably cared about, what could he do to his enemies. Again, mythic storytelling. (all this is just my opinion obviously :))

Why was the team assembled, what was really behind all of that? Who knows, the only information came from Verbal (everyone else is dead, well except Kobiashi (sp?)) and the only thing we know for sure about Verbal is that he's an extremely accomplished liar, and a fantastic story teller. So what's really true? Was it all a lie? You'll never know.

And just like that....he was gone. :D
Yep.

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Post by Grammatron »

One thing about Kaiser Soze that stick out in the movie, at least for me, was when the FBI agent enters the hospital room where the survivor is and the survivor starts screaming out "Kaiser Soze" the FBI agent all of a sudden looks very interested and even adds, "No shit?" Obviously they are aware of this man/myth in the bureau.

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Post by Doctor X »

As the agent says, there is a collegue/superior who is jokingly called the name of the guy who chased the Incredible Hulk for chasing this ghost of Soze.

What is "nice," again, is that the movie does not answer it. Again, the "remeniscence" of Soze killing his family, his enemies families, their dogs, their paperboys looks right out of "Desperado" type Hollywood pap. It is what someone who believes in a Boogeyman would imagine.

Is it true?

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist."

. . . or, the greatest trick was convincing the world a devil does exist.

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Post by Grammatron »

Doctor X wrote:
"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist."

. . . or, the greatest trick was convincing the world a devil does exist.

--J.D.
Or the greatest trick was to confuse people enough so they don't know.