It is the gang’s fear of Keyser Soze rather than any innate evil that leads to their deaths in The Usual Suspects. Do you agree?

The motion picture “The Usual Suspects,” directed by Bryan Singer, is a mystery film with narration by Roger(Verbal) Kint as he recalls the events that led up to the death of 27 people. The film follows the events after the line-up of 5 criminals caused by a heist which eventually leads to the death of everyone in the group besides Verbal. Later it is revealed that the anecdote provided by Verbal was a deception for the cop investigating the incident to conclude that Keyser Soze was Keaton. He explained during the integration that the gang was commissioned to do a job by an infamous crime lord named Keyser Soze after being blackmailed with the incriminating information he had on all of them. The gang all feared Keyser from stories, and the information against them would eventually lead to their deaths instead of innate evil. This fear of what Soze could do to them only intensified after Fenster (one of the gang members) was murdered after trying to evade performing the mission. The stories of Soze only harden the dread towards Keyser as Verbal tells Kujan that Soze is “a spooky story that criminals tell their kids at night.”

Keyser Soze is one of those stereotypical antagonists of sorts that no one knows their real identity until the end. They are infamous for their evil acts, causing them to become a legend within the criminal community. After being informed the gang disrupted Soze’s operations before, they were forced to complete a task for Soze as a repayment. Kobayashi (made up character) confirms this after he is heard stating that “[they] have all stolen from Mr Soze.” It was also revealed in the same scene that Soze knew every criminal act they had done since they were 18, which would have enough evidence to put all members away for good. Soze gave the gang no choice but to follow through with his plan; otherwise, they would die. Kobayashi continued by answering, “[since] you did not know you stole from him … [was] the only reason you are alive,” with everything that Keyser knew about them, it was certain they had no choice. The fact that Keyser went to find information about each of the 4 group members means that he planned everything, including their deaths. Soze knew that they feared his name, and with the gang scared, they could be easily coerced to their eventual demise and Soze’s plan to come to fruition.

The gang tried to resist the instructions given to them by Soze, with Fenster trying to run away from the mission; however, the next day, the whole crew saw what would happen to them if they didn’t comply. Fenster was found shot next to a cave at a beach. Even though he tried to hide from Soze, the notorious crime lord still found him and killed him. The fact that Soze could find Fenster so fast even after running away to escape the job showed the gang how powerful he was. Fenster was trying to hide from Soze after hearing all the things he did, and even with all his precaution, he wasn’t able to stay alive for over a day after disobeying Keyser. This event cemented that Soze had power over all their lives, and if they tried to do anything other than complete what they were told to do, they would die.

After the death of Fenster, they were infuriated by the fact that Soze killed one of them and wanted to have their revenge. Still, after appending Kobayashi and threatening his life, Kobayashi immediately made it clear who was in control. After being held at gunpoint, he stated that their families would be brutely murdered just as Soze had done to his family years before. The fear instilled after Kobayashi remarked, “Ms Finneran will be victim to a gruesome violation before she dies,” caused them to let him go. The fear of Fenster’s death and threats from Kobayashi increased the pressure, which imposed the rest of the gang to follow the orders of Soze.

All the stories of Keyser Soze strong presence with the narcotic trade and subsequently connects with other criminals lead to his name becoming a myth. The fact that no one knew who he was made every criminal fear of him increase as “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.” The fear caused by the name of Soze is like in Harry Potter as Voldemort was referred to as He Who Must Not Be Named due to the sheer fear that he instilled in the population, causing only a few people to say his name. This innate fear of these villains caused more harm than good; as seen in the last few books, the public mistakenly saw Voldemort everywhere and did not know who to trust, creating an environment full of fear. The same can also be seen in The Usual Suspects as “anybody could have worked for Soze. You never knew.”

All these events compounded their fear of Keyser Soze, leading them onto a path that was already laid leading to their deaths and the completion of Soze’s objective of killing the one person that could identify him. The fear of the gang caused them to follow this path; consequently, it was the fear of Keyser Soze instead of any innate evil that led to their deaths.

Written Explanation:

I chose the prompt, “It is the gang’s fear of Keyser Soze rather than any innate evil that leads to their deaths in The Usual Suspects. Do you agree?” I decided to talk about this movie topic because it intrigued me about the effects of fear on people and how it was portrayed in movies. You can see this in my writing when I draw a connection between Harry Potter, which I know my teacher hasn’t read yet but still personally, I think the two characters have similar stories. Both killed their family, feared by everyone, ruthless and not much is known about their true identity. The movie was surprisingly enjoyable. Usually, I find old movies slow-paced and a bit boring, but the twist and the drip-feed of information across the scenes provided a good source of anxiety. Honestly, the characters of Soze and Voldemort are remarkably similar, and fear is portrayed similarly in the two very different movies/books. The comparison shines a light on how the director’s choices displayed fear. Often as in life, it isn’t the actual thing that kills someone, but just the thought and the anxiety caused by it can be enough to cause a slip-up. The effects of fear can be seen in real life, with it being a driving factor for mistakes and problems, with humans being particularly susceptible to influence from fear.



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