Memorable Moments in Movies: The Keyser Soze Discovery


Obviously we’re talking MAJOR spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the movie The Usual Suspects.  But the reason I put up this scene is that I think this movie started a nice little wave of “surprise endings” in film.  Sure there are plenty of mysteries out there but I’m willing to bet that before 1995 you weren’t hearing too many people talk about movies where they said “there’s no way you figured out that ending!”

And after 1995?  There were definitely some movies that tried the same “surprises” that could only be found after watching the entire movie.   One that comes to mind is Fight Club.  Another would be Along Came a Spider.  Hell even The Sixth Sense probably counts right?

In any event, in this scene Verbal Kint is not who he says he is. When Dave Kujan discovers that he’s been making up his whole story with elements from his office he just can’t believe it.   Meanwhile Verbal Kint just disappears.  And just like that….he’s gone.

The point I’m making is that I don’t recall any movies of this caliber and difficulty in figuring out prior to 1995.  At least in my own generation of films which I would argue started in about 1985.

Anyway, this scene absolutely rocks.

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  1. Ouuuuh yes, my twist-ending Number 1 🙂

    The Funny thing is that I’ve first seen Scary Movie – where there’s a parody of the scene. THEN I’ve seen The Usual Suspects and understood the parody 😛

  2. Once had a long discussion with some friends about Keyser Soze.

    Chuck says: There is no proof that Verbal Kint is Keyser Soze. Because Keyser Soze is such an evil genius he could have hired/made Verbal Kint tell that story.

    Tina says: That Kobayashi the lawyer is really Keyser Soze.

    Mike says: That Dan Hedaya’s character Sgt. Jeffrey ‘Jeff’ Rabin is really Keyser Soze.

    Mike’s Mom: says that Dean Keaton is really Keyser because they never found his body.

  3. I actually did guess the ending to the usual suspects, but only because someone felt the need to tell me 10 or 15 times that I would never ever guess the ending. In a way it kind of ruins the fun of the twist ending when you’re told ahead of time there’s a twist ending, if nobody said anything to me before I watched the movie it probably would have been a surprise because I wouldn’t have been thinking about it. Still a great movie! 🙂

  4. Glad you said ‘At least for my own generation, starting around 1985″ lol. Cuz I was gonna say “Pyscho, anyone?’ lol. One thing I’ll say about twist ending is, I saw Fight Club when it came out on video…while my parents were watching Sixth Sense in the living room. When they got me to watch it with them a day later, they were all excited about the twist. I was like “That’s it/ THAT’S the twist ending that everyone was talknig about so much that they even mention it in the synopsis I just SAW this twist ending, done better, in Fight Club.”

    So yeah, I knew M. night Shama-lama-ding-dong was a hack from the get-go. A shame it took society about 10 years to catch up.

  5. You guys forget the ultimate one:

    – Citizen Kane! The very last shot reveals the meaning of Rosebud! Or is it a twist ending?

    – Chinatown gives me the chills everytime! But then it’s the entire ending of the movie that is fuckin’ crazy!

    – Psycho’s twist back then was incredible but this generation can’t understand because it already knows the twist when watching the movie. It’s so well known, it is part of popular culture, even people who never watched Psycho know the twist.

    – The Crying Game was so often cited in movies or sketches that at some point I had to figure it out even tho I’ve never watched it before. It’s propably one of the most discussed twist ending ever in a movie (not mainly because it is a twist ending, but the nature of it).

    – Yeah, I had a friend who constantly told me what a great twist ending the movie Matchstick Men had and he said I would never guess… well I guessed it after all because when you know it’s gonna have one, you can add 1 + 1 and have the right answer. He accused me of already watching the movie before… duh.

  6. There is plenty of Proof that Verbal is soze for one he fits perfect into the role a mastermind, verbal refused 2 testify in the interigation room beacuse of it being recorded knowing that they would bring him 2 another room thats quiet enough 2 do the interigation where else the detetives office where he knows there will be the plenty of credible info he can use 2 fabricate a credible story from off the bullitin board & also he mentions things like how could i shoot the devil in the back is because he himself is in fact the devil keyser soze & the most important hard factual evidence is wen he picks up his belongings which is a gold watch a gold lighter and a pack of smokes which keyser soze is shown 2 have & the only character in the movie that even smokes cigerettes is keyser soze & verbal so there is no doubt that verbal is soze & kobashi is shown with keatons lawuer girlfriend and the man who can identify soze so its definatly not kobashi he was just another string of soze’s he just dosent fit the desciption as keyser is a mastermind genius and works behind the lines so why would he just show up as kabashi with the offer himself & verbal made hisself look weak so he could seem innocent and work his plan from the inside and could be able 2 get on the boat personally without ever seeming 2 be there what better of an alliby than 2 be at the crime the same time but disquised as a somewhat innocent petty criminal thats been blackmailed into stopping a drug deal gives him a reason 2 be there without suspected as the killer and looked at as a simple pawn in a much deeper plot. its really just plain Genius. its the perfect con or act of deception.

  7. One of the main reasons this movie is so hard to figure out is that we can’t be sure whether the flashback scenes actually happened or they’re simply part of Kint’s story. In the final boat scene, when Hockney and Marquez are killed, we are not shown who the killer is. This is because Kint obviously doesn’t tell Kujan that he was the killer. But one clue that he is the killer is that a gold light shines on both victims’ faces when they look at the killer; Kint later picks up a gold watch and cigarette lighter when he leaves the police station. Also, when Kint is looking at Soze approaching Keaton, he is hiding behind the ropes over by the van. We can hear him breathing heavily, so this is still the story he is telling – he is behind the ropes, watching Soze from a distance. But once Soze reaches Keaton, Kint’s breathing stops. Soze kills Keaton, and then there are a few more shots of the ropes Kint has supposedly been hiding behind. They look the same, but the only difference is that we can’t hear any breathing. Earlier, we couldn’t see Kint but we could hear his breathing. Now, for the first time ever, Kint does not have an alibi to suggest that he is anyone but Soze. Also note how a gold light shines on Keaton’s face. And I’m pretty sure that we can make out Spacey’s face for a split second when he shoots Keaton.

    This is a brilliant movie.

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