Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Usual Suspects (1995)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Usual Suspects (1995)

In director Bryan Singer's clever, and hip, plot-twisting, film-noirish, mystery heist thriller (with a sharp script by Christopher McQuarrie) was (and continues to be) a popular cult favorite. Its tagline was: "In a world where nothing is what it seems you've got to look beyond...(THE USUAL SUSPECTS).":

  • much of the film was set in a police interrogation room, where a lengthy questioning was held between two men regarding a central mystery surrounding the enigmatic, greatly-feared, legendary existence and character of Hungarian mobster and kingpin known as Keyser Soze - a semi-mythical, cold-blooded "devil", and almost supernatural Hungarian crime lord and mastermind:
    • Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri), a tough US Customs Agent and federal investigator, flown from NYC to Los Angeles for the questioning
    • Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey), a manipulative, crippled (disabled, 'club-footed', or suffering from cerebral palsy), small-time, two-bit con-man
  • Kint told a convoluted story (in flashback) about criminal misconduct that stretched back to six weeks earlier. Much of Kint's story spoke about the mysterious, devilish crime lord Keyser Soze, his early life, and a description of the first time he ever heard of Soze, and his coldbloodness with Hungarian rivals followed by his disappearance: ("The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist...and like that, he's gone. Underground....Nobody's ever seen him since. He becomes a myth, a spook story that criminals tell their kids at night"). According to Kint, a group of tough and savvy criminals (the ones on all the film's posters), were in an NYPD line-up, hauled in after a Queens, NY truck hijacking and gun parts shipment robbery:
    • Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), a crooked ex-cop, now reformed and in the restaurant business
    • Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin), a professional thief, a hot-headed entry man and sniper
    • Fred Fenster (Benicio del Toro), a flashy-dressing Latino who spoke in mangled English, also McManus' partner
    • Todd Hockney (Kevin Pollak), an explosives specialist and thuggish hijacker
    • and Kint himself
  • as revenge for being 'falsely accused', they also pulled off a robbery of a protective escort service (New York's "finest taxi service" run by corrupt NYPD officers) that was escorting a jewel smuggler and they pulled off a $3 million robbery of emeralds. Following the lucrative heist, they traveled to Los Angeles to sell the loot through McManus' fence REDFOOT, and then failed a second jewel heist attempt (when the jewels turned out to be heroin)
  • afterwards, to compensate for his loss and pay him back, Turkish crime lord Soze (and his lawyer Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite)) coerced the five thieves to go on a suicide mission to San Pedro Bay (LA) harbor to commit a huge $91 million cocaine heist (and destruction) of a drug shipment on a docked ship -- an act of sabotage against Keyser Soze's own Argentinian drug-dealing competitors in the drug trade
  • the weaselly, limping Kint, one of only two survivors of the fiery explosion and fire-fight massacre at the harbor (the other survivor was badly-burned Hungarian mobster Arkosh Kovash) that resulted in 27 deaths, confessed truths, half-truths, double-crosses, and lies in the convoluted tale - claiming that he witnessed the botched raid (due to the fact that no cocaine was found on the ship - or it was mysteriously missing?); Kujan deduced: "Keaton was Keyser Soze" - the mastermind of everything, who had faked his death and deliberately left Verbal as a witness. However, Kint disagreed: "This is all bulls--t"
Kobayashi Coffee Cup Clue
Kint (Kevin Spacey) Not Really Crippled
  • the concluding plot twist revealed and resolved the identity of Keyser Soze. After refusing to testify in court, the crippled Kint was released on bail and limped away from the police station (after receiving 'Keyser Soze's' gold watch and gold lighter -- another clue!), as his hand deformity and his limp suddenly disappeared from his stride
  • Kujan simultaneously realized - upon breaking his coffee mug (with the logo for Kobayashi Porcelain) and other trivial clues - that Kint was, in fact, the greatly-feared, legendary criminal mastermind and kingpin Keyser Soze of Kint's own extraordinarily-fabricated story. A police sketch artist's rending of Soze's face confirmed that Soze was Kint
  • to his stunned amazement, Kujan scanned the office's bulletin board and noticed that many of the elements of Kint's preposterous swindler story (about Kobayashi-Keyser Soze-Dean Keaton) were improvised from items behind Sgt. Rabin's desk in the borrowed office:
    • The coffee mug logo for Kobayashi was the same name as the blackmailing lawyer in Kint's account
    • The bulletin board was made by Quartet, a company in Skokie, Illinois, referred to in Kint's story as a "barbershop quartet"
    • There was a picture of a wanted lady who was "orca fat" - with a list of her alias names on a wanted sheet - one of which was the name "REDFOOT" - one of Kint's fabricated characters ("Some guy in California, his name is Redfoot")
    • There was a vacation flyer for traveling to "Guatemala" ("A Winning Combination - Guatemala - The best buy for your client's vacation dollars") - Kint had said: "Back when I was pickin' beans in Guatemala, we used to make fresh coffee."
  • the "cripple" Kint was picked up in a black car by Kobayashi. The film's last line was Kint's voice-over, words that he had spoken earlier - (he blew on his fingers, as if to say 'Poof!'): "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And like that, he's gone"

The NYPD Lineup of Five Crooks

Questioning Kint in the LAPD Office

Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey)

Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri)

Lawyer Kobayshi's Coercion of Gang to Commit San Pedro Harbor Cocaine Heist

Kujan: "Keaton was Keyser Soze

Arriving Too Late: A Police Sketch Artist Rendering of Soze's Face - Resembling Kint Himself

Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite) Picking Up Kint

Dave Kujan: Tricked!

Kint: "The greatest trick..."


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