Keyser Söze ( ) is a fictional character in the 1995 film The Usual Suspects, written by Christopher McQuarrie and directed by Bryan Singer. Söze is an underworld kingpin whose ruthlessness and influence have acquired a legendary, and even mythical, status among law enforcement agents and criminals alike. By the end of the film, the viewer is led to believe that Söze is Dean Keaton, but the twist ending reveals that it's Roger "Verbal" Kint. The character was named the #48 villain in the American Film Institute's "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains" in June 2003.
Söze's past is unknown, but the story told by Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey) has Söze as a low-level drug dealer beginning his criminal career in his native Turkey. The entity that is Keyser Söze is truly born, however, when rival Hungarian smugglers invade his house while he is away, rape his wife and hold his children hostage; when Söze arrives, they kill one of the children to show him their resolve, then threaten to kill his wife and remaining children if he does not surrender his business to them. Rather than give in to their demands, and to prevent his family from having to live with the memory of what has happened, he murders his loved ones and all but one of the Hungarians, whom he spares, knowing that the survivor would tell the mafia what has happened.
Söze then goes after the mob, killing dozens of people, including the mobsters's families, friends and even people who owe them money, as well as destroying their homes and businesses. He then goes "underground," never again doing business in person and remaining invisible even to his henchmen, who almost never know for whom they are working. One of the most famous lines from the movie, spoken by Kint, is: "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist." This is a paraphrase of a phrase in a story by Charles Baudelaire, but neither McQuarrie nor Singer realized this at the time, and they "borrowed it from people who were quoting Baudelaire themselves."
Söze's ruthlessness is legendary; he is described as having had enemies and disloyal henchmen brutally murdered, along with everyone they hold dear, for the slightest infractions--and as personally murdering people who have seen, and can identify, him. Over the years his criminal empire, centered around the drug trade, flourishes, as does his legend; he becomes, as Kint says during his interrogation, "a spook story that criminals tell their kids at night." He does seem to possess a very twisted sense of honor, however. If an individual unknowingly offends him he will usually offer them the chance to redeem themselves by carrying out a very high-risk assignment; if they survive their transgression is forgiven. However, if a person is to knowingly cross him, they will be executed.
Read more about Keyser Söze at Wikipedia
Official Site: MGM Entertainment
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