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View Full Version : Usual Suspects (possible spoiler)


peedin
08-30-2001, 09:43 AM
Just watch the Usual Suspects again last night. Every time I watch it, I think I'll figure it all out, but every time, something new puzzles me. This time I got to wondering, was it just coincidence that the 5 were put in the same cell for the truck hijack at the beginning, or was that set up by Kayser Soze? What would be the chances of them all being together, but on the other hand, how was it arranged? Damn, that movie is so entertaining!

seawitch
08-30-2001, 09:47 AM
Since the five of them in the cell together was a detail that Kevin Spacey/Keyser Soze gave, and his story was a big bag of lies, how do you know they were ever in the cell together at all? The movie ends with no confirmation of any of the story - which is part of what I enjoyed. That sudden feeling of "everything you know is wrong" just added to the twist.

puk
08-30-2001, 09:53 AM
Remember, the timespan of the movie is the interview of Soze and the cop (sorry, forgot the name). The scenes outside the cop's office are flashbacks/what Soze tells the cop. Soze just made up the entire sequence of events, relying on what he read from the bullitin board behind the cop's desk (which he was facing) as verifyable facts. The rest is plain old pull-his-leg-again fiction.
In other words, in all likelyhood the initial meeting probably didn't take place the way soze described it to the cop.

Oblong
08-30-2001, 10:45 AM
Remember that Kujan did arrest Keaton at the restaurant. My question is, if the arrests were all arranged and predetermined by Soze, why did Kujan arrest him? Did he just hear about it and tag along? Why would he be tipped off by Soze's informant since going after Soze is his pet project.

stolichnaya
08-30-2001, 11:17 AM
My take is as follows (SPOILERS!!!!!!!):
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The narrative is mostly true, but the names are changed. You will notice that "Kobayashi" picked Soze/Kint up at the end of the film. I believe that the "story padding" that justified the nickname "Verbal" was all made up: the barbershop quartet in Skokie IL, all that crap. The rest of the story was pretty much true, just that certian names were changed to protect (aware or unaware) operatives of Soze.

It seems to me that Soze/Kint doesn't really know how much the police have figured out, so it benefits him to sprinkle the story with verifiable events the presumably Kujan would know about already (the gun parts, the NY Finest Taxi story, the lineup, the dead bodyguards and jewel dealer, etc.) I believe that the scenes we see with the other thieves went materially as Kint describes them, with the exception of spur of the moment aliases for everyone who played a role that is still alive. If I may be allowed to extrapolate beyond the timeframe of the story, I believe that this is so "Redfoot" et al can be tracked down and killed before Kujan can figure out who they are. The one thing I don't get is why Redfoot in particular wan't killed immediately (we don't see this, correct me if I'm wrong) so another pet theory of mine is that Redfoot is some kind of high-level operative of Soze's, or that he's killed and we just don't see it.

oblongMy question is, if the arrests were all arranged and predetermined by Soze, why did Kujan arrest him? We are given to believe that Kujan has a "hard-on" for Keaton due to some earlier encounter. Keaton is ex-law enforcement IIRC. Then this becomes the easiest part of the plan- Soze just has someone phone in a tip to Kujan that his prime target is in some fishy business. Boom.

More extrapolation: Soze's operatives in the PD set up the lineup by tipping the PD that the group was working together. The theory would be to get them together in a cell and try to tape them revelaing the details of their association. Soze just rats on himself(as Kint) with the rest of them.

Really, the fact that so much thought can be put into the events of this movie continually amazes me, and is a tribute to the work of the screenwriter.

peedin
08-30-2001, 11:19 AM
It does make sense that the whole arrest was a lie by Verbal. However, it is one incident that could be verified by calling the NYPD. And great point, Oblong, I forgot about Keaton being arrested in the restaurant. So, are we back to "what a coincidence" vs. "Soze set up the whole thing"?

OT: I decided that if I ever have another horse, I will name him Kayser Soze.

Kamandi
08-30-2001, 12:28 PM
Verbal: "He [Soze] showed these men of will, what will really was."

Gives me chills every time.

I also found it wonderfully ironic that the cop threatens Verbal by saying: "I'll make sure that everyone knows the name 'Verbal Kint'".



Sorry. I've got nothing to add to the OP. I just loved that movie.

Oblong
08-30-2001, 01:57 PM
There was a deleted scene in the script where they (The Usual Suspects)kill Redfoot. Then we see the meaning of his name. He has a red boot that is sticking out of the broken window.

Did you remember Kujan's explanation on how he knows he's got his man? The one that 'gets some rest'.

In the lockup, Hockney was laying down on the bench. Koboyashi tells us he was the one who stole the gun parts.

warmgun
08-30-2001, 03:21 PM
I'm starting to really like this new forum!

seawitch
08-30-2001, 04:19 PM
I just noticed in my own post above - Kevin Spacey and Keyser Soze. The same initials. I wonder if that was one more clue I missed in the beginning.

Re: Redfoot's death - missing scene or not, am I the only one who wonders if there ever was a Redfoot? He may be a complete figment.

I'm watching it again after I get home tonight. (Of course I own a copy. How could you not?)

Some Guy
08-30-2001, 08:07 PM
I always thought that bit at the end (with Kobayashi showing up as the chauffeur) was a pretty gigantic misstep - it's just too "cute" , IMO, especially since Verbal has no reason to describe Kobayashi's physical appearance accurately. It's a (very minor) low point in an otherwise incredible movie.

As far as the beginning of the movie: I always assumed that this was one of the few "genuine" events in Verbal's retelling, which is not to say that he didn't embroider or alter the details. It would be incredibly simple for the police in Los Angeles to check and verify at least that such an investigation and arrest happened, and in fact Kujan at least has verified that Verbal is a known criminal. It's safe for Keyser Söze to lie about things that nobody can verify; it's not safe for him to provably lie about matters of verifiable fact, and that means that he would never, ever, do it.

"1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Oswald was a fag."

warmgun
08-30-2001, 08:26 PM
Also I believe the time frames super-imposed on the screen (e.g. Two weeks earlier) indicate 'real' events as opposed to Kint's narrative.

Tom Waits Patiently
08-30-2001, 08:34 PM
true, this movie makes you wonder. if the narrater is a lier, than the story is unbelievable?

but how did he get out of jail? they said he had connections way up, so someone liked him enough to get out of jail.

tom

Drastic
08-31-2001, 01:02 AM
Verbal's information has, I think, several phases.

It begins much more factually, but of course incomplete in large chunks, but the initial story of the line-up, and the New York's Finest taxi service were essentially the truth--Verbal was lying by omission, not with outright falsehoods.

The flight into total leg-pulling occurs later; the whole story gets much more elaborate than it needs to be, and Verbal runs the risk of getting caught up in it because he's pissed. Note when Kujan is trying to intimidate him, he's cool as cucumber until he states "I'm smarter than you." The way his eyes narrow briefly in response.

Also note the point Kujan comes back in and demands, "what do you know about Kayser Soze?" and the explosiveness of Verbal's initial reaction.

Zaphod Beeblebrox
08-31-2001, 06:40 AM
It's funny. So many people refer to that film as "full of surprising twists," etc. Am I the only person in the world who found it terribly predictable? I called every scene before it happened, and the minute that the name "Soze" was mentioned, I thought "It's Spacey... there's no other way."

In truth, the only thing I enjoyed about the movie was the acting. Maybe I'd been told by too many people stuff like "Dude! You gotta see The Usual Suspects! It's a mindbender that'll keep you on the edge of your seat!" Because of this, it was one of the biggest disappointments I'd ever had (speaking only of movies, of course). It was only about a year later that I had to admit that the film wasn't that bad. At least it had a solid cast.

Kamandi
08-31-2001, 11:17 AM
Originally posted by seawitch
Re: Redfoot's death - missing scene or not, am I the only one who wonders if there ever was a Redfoot? He may be a complete figment.

I thought the very same thing!

Oblong
08-31-2001, 11:35 AM
Well there was New York's finest Taxi Service, I think we agree on that. There had to be a fence for the jewels. Now, was there a Saul Berg? Redfoot's role was to link The Usual Suspects to Kobayashi and that happened through the theft of Berg and the lack of jewels.

The question really is, how did the Suspects really get together on the job to kill Marquez for Soze? What were the events that led up to that?

Things get murky and questionable after the Taxi theft and up to the action on the boat.

Cervaise
08-31-2001, 02:29 PM
Ah, but don't forget this vital clue: the name "Verbal Kint" is an anagram for "Vibrant Elk."

That should make things clearer.

The Ryan
08-31-2001, 05:00 PM
Originally posted by Some Guy
I always thought that bit at the end (with Kobayashi showing up as the chauffeur) was a pretty gigantic misstep - it's just too "cute" , IMO, especially since Verbal has no reason to describe Kobayashi's physical appearance accurately. It's a (very minor) low point in an otherwise incredible movie.
What do you mean? I think that it just shows that KS was thinking about his chauffeur when he was describing Kobayashi. It doesn't mean that he describes Kobayashi as being like his chauffeur, or that Kobayashi was his chauffeur, or anything else. It's sort of like how at the end of The Wizard of Oz, we see some farmhands that look like the Cowardly Lion and the Tinman. It doesn't mean that the farmhands were actually present in Oz.

As for the OP: do you recall that the characters actually mentioned this at the very beginning, that they knew something was fishy up because more than one suspect is never put into the same line up.

stolichnaya
08-31-2001, 06:38 PM
This is a whole new can of worms, anyway. When we "see" the flashbacks, are we seeing Kint's recall or are we seeing Kujan's imagination of the described events? To avoid tying my mind into knots, I explain Kobayashi's appearance at the end by saying that the Kobster is Soze's personal valet, he's one of the few men that Soze trusts, and therefore would be perfect to act as his "counsel" for the purpose of fooling the thieves into doing his bidding.

warmgun
09-01-2001, 02:14 AM
Originally posted by Cervaise
Ah, but don't forget this vital clue: the name "Verbal Kint" is an anagram for "Vibrant Elk."

That should make things clearer.

Damn you, Cervaise - The ultimate spoiler!

warmgun
09-01-2001, 02:15 AM
Oops...almost forgot:

(All together now) Good name for a rock band......

stolichnaya
09-01-2001, 11:18 AM
By the way, was I the only one that caught the Vibrant Elk thing right away? I weep for the IQ of the moviegoing public.

waterj2
09-01-2001, 01:06 PM
Vibrant Elk???

Apparently you can weep for my IQ as well?

stolichnaya
09-01-2001, 01:39 PM
OK, it's in Cafe Society, but this would be my first official WOOOSH.

Unless the always clever waterj2 has subtly constructed a WOOOSH booby trap for me.

Dag, where is that sarcastic smiley?

waterj2
09-01-2001, 03:23 PM
I thought it was a joke the first two posts on it, but you seemed so serious. I'll admit, I got wooshed. Usually I can avoid it. An excellent use of subtlety there.

I got called always clever! I got called always clever!
:D

Kaitlyn
09-01-2001, 04:04 PM
Originally posted by Some Guy
I always thought that bit at the end (with Kobayashi showing up as the chauffeur) was a pretty gigantic misstep - it's just too "cute" , IMO, especially since Verbal has no reason to describe Kobayashi's physical appearance accurately. It's a (very minor) low point in an otherwise incredible movie.


So, it's a mistake that's both gigantic and very minor? Interesting.

Whenever I hear voiceover, or see that the story is being told by someone in the movie, my English teacher training kicks in. Remember, all first person narrators are unreliable. Even if they are honest, we still get thier version of what happened, not what actually happened, and we must filter out their perceptions, misperceptions and lies to find the truth.

Originally posted by The Ryan
What do you mean? I think that it just shows that KS was thinking about his chauffeur when he was describing Kobayashi. It doesn't mean that he describes Kobayashi as being like his chauffeur, or that Kobayashi was his chauffeur, or anything else. It's sort of like how at the end of The Wizard of Oz, we see some farmhands that look like the Cowardly Lion and the Tinman. It doesn't mean that the farmhands were actually present in Oz.

Dorothy got bonked on the head during the storm and incorporated the people she knew into her dream. Not only were they not in Oz, Oz didn't really exist; it was all a dream. This parallel would suggest that everything that Kint says that isn't directly verifiable is a lie.

I've always interpreted the story as that Kint's purpose was to A: find out what the police knew and B: amuse himself by playing mind games with them.

elucidator
09-01-2001, 04:35 PM
Ground assumption: Soze made up a story that the cop could verify. Five men were arrested and put in jail together. Soze manipulated the situation only slightly, the same men would have been picked up anyway, they were the "Usual Suspects". One of them must have been "Verbal", but not Soze/Spacey. No way, Soze! (Sorry, I tried to resist....)

EXCEPT Verbal Kinte! All the others were known stick-up men, VK's presence in that cell is implausible, and the cop should have tumbled to that, being a cop and all.

The entire thing was made up on the spot, except those parts that the cop could check on. Soze did coerce the US into attacking the ship so he could play Whack the Rat, and display his unique gifts in Targeted Urination. He just told the story in such a way that the cop, who had a serious hard-on for G. Byrnes character, would see what he wanted to see. Most important of all: the cop must percieve Kinte/Soze's walking away from jail as doom, not as escape.

I presume that no where in the movie does Soze/Kint know that there is a survivor who is giving a likeness to a sketch artist? That his walking out just as it comes over the fax machine is just a little dramatic fillip?

Some Guy
09-02-2001, 12:06 AM
Okay, so for Number Six and The Ryan:

My point is pretty simple: I think that reusing Kobayashi for that final cameo was a mistake, because it doesn't add anything to the film (by that point, everybody realizes that Verbal=Keyser Söze), and because it doesn't tie up very neatly with the way that the film has developed.

Up to that point, Kobayashi is presented either as one of Söze's major, trusted, direct subordinates (in Verbal's little fairy tale) or as an obvious fictionalization of an element that had to have taken place (at the climaz of the move - note that the basic scenario necessary to get people onto the boat would require a go-betweeen, but note also that Keyser Söze would never, ever have described such an important person with any degree of accuracy). Once the limo scene happens, however, you can't say for certain which of these is true and which isn't or indeed if either is. The overall is just confusing and indefinite, which detracts from an otherwise excellent ending to an otherwise excellent movie.

Equally important, of course, is the fact that it's completely unnecessary. I think it's clear that a limo and driver are absolutely required for the final scene to work, but there's nothing in the plot that requires it to be driven by anyone on particular. It turns out to be Kobayashi again, but that's the screenplay (and the director) trying to get one last thing in. It comes off, at least in my mind, as being "too cute", like having the county tax clerk played by Stephen Spielberg.

"Cute" jars significantly with the tone that the rst of the move (and especially, the rest of the ending) is trying to establish. In this case, it's unnecessary cute, so I feel justified in pointing it out as a minor flaw in the movie.

And yes, I am obsessing far too much over a very minor point. It's just always been a pet peeve of mine. Thanks in advance for not calling me a film dweeb :)

Enola Straight
09-02-2001, 12:23 AM
Why are they all in the same cell? It would make sense
if you had one, and then take the others he's known to hang out with...thus, the usual suspects.

Kaitlyn
09-02-2001, 12:47 AM
Originally posted by enolancooper
Why are they all in the same cell? It would make sense
if you had one, and then take the others he's known to hang out with...thus, the usual suspects.

The title is a reference to "Casablanca" in which the police chief tells an underling to, "Round up the usual suspects."

Originally posted by Some Guy
"Cute" jars significantly with the tone that the rst of the move (and especially, the rest of the ending) is trying to establish. In this case, it's unnecessary cute, so I feel justified in pointing it out as a minor flaw in the movie.

And yes, I am obsessing far too much over a very minor point. It's just always been a pet peeve of mine. Thanks in advance for not calling me a film dweeb.

Hey, I wasn't arguing with you. I was just pointing out that you called the mistake "gigantic" and "very minor" in the same paragraph.

As for being a "film dweeb", you say that as if it's a bad thing. Most of us prefer the term movie geek.

stolichnaya
09-02-2001, 11:53 AM
Some GuyKeyser Söze would never, ever have described such an important person with any degree of accuracy

Very true. Which is why I don't think he described anything. We're seeing the images in Kint's head, not Kujan's. We don't know what's made up and what's real, but...

Let's go over Soze's goals:

1: Find out how much the police know.
2: Portray himself as a credulous, hapless non-player
3: Add some ammo to Kujan's belief that Keaton is Soze
4: Let Kujan convince Kint that Keaton is Soze
5: Convince Kujan that his "connections from up on high" as described earlier are none other than Keaton and his cronies.
6: Convince Kujan that he is letting this rat walk out into a death sentence

So this, IMO, is what he makes up entirely.
Verbal's history
All scenes between Keaton and Verbal
Conversations involving only the US.

Here's where he massages the truth:
Kobayashi's name, other names
All scenes involving Kobayashi

Here are some where he essentially tells the truth:
Descriptions of verifiable events and murders
Where Fenster is buried


Re: everyone in the same cell, you wouldn't want to do that in case they were all invloved, it would give them a chance to work on their story and find out what the cops knew. Unless, of course, you were taping them... ;)

By the way, film dweebs rock.

Oblong
09-02-2001, 03:14 PM
Everything we see isn't Verbal, or Kujan's story.

Remember the scenes where Hockney and McManus die? Those aren't narratives, especially Hockney's because the POV is from the person who killed him.

Verbal told him things that would check out upon verification or else Kujan would come back after him. Of course, by that point, he would be long gone. But, as pointed out, Verbal/Soze had to convince Kujan in such a way that he believed Keaton was Soze so that there would be no reason to back after Verbal to clear things up.

warmgun
09-02-2001, 03:28 PM
Originally posted by elucidator

EXCEPT Verbal Kinte! All the others were known stick-up men, VK's presence in that cell is implausible, and the cop should have tumbled to that, being a cop and all.


Yeah....right! :rolleyes:

warmgun
09-02-2001, 03:35 PM
I never assumed he was a chauffeur. I just thought he was his number one man/ lawyer swinging by to pick him up.
I don't remember VK describing him at all to Kujan. We just saw it was the same guy.