The Usual Suspects is one of those films that you feel everyone is almost obligated to see at least once. The classic heist film stars an ensemble of the younger versions of a lot of today’s famous actors, such as Benicio del Toro and Kevin Spacey, who won an Academy Award for his unforgettable performance as Roger “Verbal” Kint.
Throughout the film, Verbal tells the story about how a group of criminals – himself included – were “coincidentally” brought together to complete a job for the mysterious Keyser Söze, a legendary crime lord whose reputation instills fear in even the deadliest of criminals.
The world was introduced to this Bryan Singer-directed crime thriller on August 16, 1995, which makes today the 20th anniversary of its release. So, look back at these quotes from The Usual Suspects to celebrate 20 years of the legend of Keyser Söze taking on a life of its own.
“I can’t feel my legs… Keyser.” – Dean Keaton
From the very beginning of The Usual Suspects, it’s clear that you’re going to have to put a lot of pieces together – or, at least, wait for them to be put together for you. With the altered voices and dark, mysterious figure leaving destruction in his path you don’t know what to expect. And then there’s Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), the main character of the film who appears to get shot in the opening scene.
“Hand me the keys…” – Verbal Kint
This lineup is the most memorable scene from The Usual Suspects. You get all of your main players in one room, each showing a little bit of their personalities through the unique deliveries of the same line. You have McManus showing his wild side, Fenster being somewhat inaudible, and the rest just not taking it seriously.
“You do some time, they never let you go.” – Fred Fenster
This line was meant to be a joke, but you could also argue that it says a lot about the real life criminal justice system. The characters in The Usual Suspects find that they can’t ever really escape their criminal pasts, even the one that actually went clean.
“How many times you been in a lineup? It’s always you and four dummies. PD are paying homeless guys $10 a head half the time. And there’s no way they’d line five felons in the same row. No way. And what’s a – What’s a voice lineup? Public defender could get you out of that one.” – Dean Keaton
In case you thought there was something weird about all of these high-level criminals being placed in the same room, you’re right. Keaton, who appears to be the brains of the group, explains what he believes to be the true motives behind the rare lineup.
“Really? I live in Queens. Did you put that together yourself, Einstein? What? Do you got a team of monkeys working around the clock on this?” – Todd Hockney
Hockney had multiple scenes where he showed that he wasn’t intimidated by anyone – except for Keyser Söze, of course. When the police arrested him with over a dozen cops, he met them with the same irritated tone that he displayed when they interrogated him on a bogus crime.
“First day on the job, you know what I learned? How to spot a murderer. Let’s say you arrest three guys for the same killing. You put them all in jail overnight. The next morning, whoever’s sleeping is your man. You see, if you’re guilty, you know you’re caught, you get some rest, you let your guard down.” – Dave Kujan
Dave Kujan spent most of the movie trying to dig into the mind of Verbal to understand what happened. His first out of a handful of mistakes was thinking he was always the smartest person in the room. But that sense of pride didn’t come from nowhere. His insight into how to spot a murderer is admittedly pretty brilliant.
“One cannot be betrayed if one has no people.” – Mr. Kobayashi
One of Keyser Söze’s biggest weapons was his anonymity. He achieved this by never meeting with anyone he worked with in-person. By not giving people the opportunity to stab him in the back, or even know who he is, he allowed his reputation to proceed him on a global scale. This scene also clarified how deeply everyone was actually connected.
“Keaton always said, ‘I don’t believe in God, but I’m afraid of him.’ Well, I believe in God and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Söze.” – Verbal Kint
At this point, Keyser Söze appears to be more of a bogeyman than an actual person. The story about how he got revenge for an attack upon his family is one that would give adults nightmares, better yet their children.
“Old MacDonald had a farm, ee-I-ee-I-oh. And on that farm he shot some guys. Bada-boom, Bada-bing-bang-boom.” – Michael McManus
McManus is a fan favorite character in The Usual Suspect because of his unpredictability and loyalty to the things and people he really cares about. He was the loose cannon and the goofball of the crew. Which is why he was able to take murder so lightly that he even brought in a nursery rhyme.
After that, my guess is that you will never hear from him again. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that… he is gone. – Verbal Kint
Here it is, ladies and gents; one of the biggest twist endings in movie history. After spending an entire movie building up the reputation of Keyser Söze, Verbal Kint says just enough to give Kujan the pieces to construct what really happened in that room and how he played an active role in his own deception.