Stuff from the 90's is da bomb!
Movies: The Usual Suspects
Release Date: August 16, 1995
Directed by Bryan Singer.
Starring Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, Pete Postlethwaite, and Kevin Spacey.
On a ship in San Pedro Bay, a faceless figure identified as “Keyser” speaks with an injured man called Keaton (Gabriel Byrne). The two talk briefly, then Keyser appears to shoot Keaton before setting the ship ablaze. The next day, FBI Agent Jack Baer (Giancarlo Esposito) and U.S. Customs special agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) arrive in San Pedro separately to investigate what happened on the boat. There appear to be only two survivors: Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey), a con artist with cerebral palsy, and a hospitalized Hungarian criminal named Arkosh Kovash. Baer interrogates the severely burned Kovash in the hospital, who claims that Keyser Söze, a Turkish criminal mastermind with a nearly mythical reputation, was in the harbor “killing many men”. Kovash begins to describe Söze while a translator interprets and a police sketch artist draws a rendering of Söze’s face. Meanwhile, Verbal has testified at length about the incident in exchange for near-total immunity. After making his statement to the district attorney and while waiting to post bail on a relatively minor weapons charge, Verbal is placed in the cluttered office of San Pedro Police Sergeant Jeffrey Rabin (Dan Hedaya) where Kujan demands to hear his story from the beginning. Verbal’s tale starts six weeks earlier in New York City:
Five criminals are brought together in a police lineup: Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne), a corrupt former police officer who has apparently given up his life of crime; Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin), a short-tempered professional thief; Fred Fenster (Benicio del Toro), McManus’ partner who speaks in mangled English; Todd Hockney (Kevin Pollak), a hijacker who forms an instant rivalry with McManus; and Verbal.
While in holding, McManus convinces the others to join forces to commit a robbery targeting New York’s Finest Taxi Service, corrupt NYPD police officers who escort smugglers to their destinations around the city. After the successful robbery, the quintet travel to Los Angeles to sell their loot to McManus’ fence, “Redfoot” (Peter Greene). Redfoot talks them into another job: robbing a purported jewel dealer. Instead of jewels or money, as they were told he was holding, the dealer was carrying heroin. An angry confrontation between the thieves and Redfoot reveals that the job came from a lawyer named Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite). The thieves later meet with Kobayashi, who claims to work for Keyser Söze and who blackmails them into attacking a ship at San Pedro harbor. Kobayashi describes the boat as smuggling $91 million worth of cocaine, to be purchased by rivals of Söze. The thieves are to destroy the drugs and, if they choose to wait until the buyers arrive, can split the cash as they choose.
In the present, Verbal tells Kujan the story of Keyser Söze as he apparently heard it from Keaton and the others. Kujan, previously unfamiliar with Söze, asks Baer about him. Baer admits no direct knowledge, but has heard rumors for years about Söze insulating himself behind layers of minions who do not know for whom they are working. Verbal also describes Fenster’s attempt to run away, ending with his being killed by Kobayashi. The remaining thieves kidnap Kobayashi, intending to kill him if he does not leave them alone. Unbowed, Kobayashi reveals that Edie Finneran (Suzy Amis), Keaton’s lawyer and girlfriend, is in his office (believing she was hired for legal services), and threatens to kill her as well as kill or maim other loved ones of the thieves should they refuse the job.
On the night of the cocaine deal, the sellers (a group of Argentine mobsters) and the buyers (a group of Hungarian mobsters) are on the dock. Keaton tells Verbal to stay back, and to take the money to Edie if the plan goes awry so she can pursue Kobayashi “her way”. Verbal reluctantly agrees, and watches the boat from a distance in hiding. Keaton, McManus, and Hockney attack the men at the pier, killing most of them. Keaton and McManus board the ship to find the drugs while Hockney goes after a van carrying the cash, and is fatally shot after he finds it. Keaton and McManus discover there is no cocaine on the boat, while a closely guarded Argentine passenger is shot twice in the head by an unseen assailant. McManus is killed with a knife to the back of his neck and Keaton, turning away to leave, is shot down by a man with a gold lighter. The mysterious figure appears to speak briefly with Keaton before apparently shooting him.
With Verbal’s story finished, Kujan reveals what he has deduced, with the aide of Baer, concluding that Keaton was Keyser Söze. Kujan is convinced that Keaton has faked his death (as he had briefly done some years earlier to escape another investigation) and deliberately left Verbal as a witness. Under Kujan’s aggressive questioning, Verbal tearfully admits that the whole affair, from the beginning, was Keaton’s idea, but he flatly refuses to testify further.
His bail having been posted, Verbal retrieves his personal effects from the property officer as Kujan, relaxing in Rabin’s office, realizes with a shock that details and names from Verbal’s story are culled from various objects around the room – including Rabin’s crowded bulletin board and the “Kobayashi Porcelain Company” logo on the bottom of his coffee cup. Kujan realizes that most of Verbal’s story was improvised for his benefit and chases after him, running past a fax machine as it receives the police artist’s impression of Keyser Söze’s face, which resembles not Keaton, but Verbal.
Meanwhile, Verbal walks away from the police station, dropping his feigned cerebral palsy. He gets into a waiting car driven by “Mr. Kobayashi”, pulling away just as Kujan comes outside, searching in vain. The movie closes with Verbal reiterating his quote from Charles Baudelaire: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” This is followed by his earlier description of Keyser Söze: “And like that, he’s gone.”