You know it’s amazing how many movies have a plot that goes no where or ends with an anti climax,I don’t think I have ever watched a film like this that has so many things going for it!
The main leads in this movie all share a very natural chemistry,it was reported that the cast were always laughing in between takes,I think this must have spilled over into some scenes, which creates a very a believable situation,added to this you have a very unusual bunch of guys, from the tough talking and sensitive to the disabled and the incoherent,these people are forced together, this is the key early on,the writer of the film ( Christopher McQuarrie ) writes a plausible reason about why the unbelievable is happening which sets the viewer at ease from the start, far too often a writer / director will dismiss his audience and chop from scene to scene treating the viewer as a simpleton who doesn’t know any better,this results in the viewer emotionally disconnecting with what he is watching while his eyes start looking for a subplot away from the screen.
Spoiler Alert –
Kevin Spacey turned everybody’s head with this performance,even if people didn’t realise it at the time,few actors can truly say they hoodwinked the audience the way his character did,Verbal Kint starts off as the go between for the viewer and the story,he narrates from the start which automatically crosses him off the list of suspects.
Pete Postlewaite’s character Kobayashi, was originally written for a Japanese actor , the voice was made up by the actor on set, when his first scene of the film arrived the director asked if he was going to use that voice throughout the film, Pete replied,unless you want me to change it, his dead pan delivery brings so much mystery to the film.
Chazz Palminteri plays Dave Gujan,I think people over look his role but I don’t think the film works without his performance,he listens along with the viewer and starts off the scene with the line,I am smarter than you! which starts a battle of wits between the two of them,his character pull’s you along nicely,you find yourself agreeing with him near the end until the bottom falls out of the story and all is revealed.
Gus from Breaking Bad (Giancarlo Esposito) also plays a bit part in this classic story,I had to double-check because when you compare his character from Breaking bad to this one you realise they are worlds apart which is a testament to Giancarlo as an actor.
Background information on the film –
Christopher McQuarrie‘s inspiration for the character of Keyser Soze was a real-life murderer by the name of John List, who murdered his family and then disappeared for 17 years.
John Emil List (September 17, 1925 – March 21, 2008) was an American fugitive convicted of murder. On November 9, 1971, he killed his wife, mother, and three children in their home in Westfield, New Jersey, and then disappeared. He had planned the murders so meticulously that nearly a month passed before anyone noticed that anything was amiss. A fugitive from justice for nearly 18 years, List, after assuming a false identity and remarrying, was finally apprehended on June 1, 1989, after the story of his murders was broadcast on America’s Most Wanted. List was found guilty of the murders and sentenced to five consecutive terms of life imprisonment. He died of pneumonia while in prison custody in 2008.
Before he’s allowed to leave, Verbal Kint gets back his belongings, which include a gold watch and a gold lighter. Keyser Soze was seen earlier using both.
The order that the personal packages are given to everyone in the pool room is the same order in which the characters die.
When Verbal Kint falls to the ground during the interrogation by Kujan, Verbal clearly says “I did, I did kill Keaton.” Kujan is yelling at the time and does not hear the slip up, which Verbal quickly covers up by saying “I did see Keaton get shot.”
In the movie, Kevin Spacey‘s character explains that his nickname is “Verbal” because he talks too much. In the DVD commentary, Bryan Singer points out that the nickname is a clue, since Keyser Soze is said to have a Turkish mother and a German father. According to Singer, in a mix of German and Turkish, “Keyser Soze” can be roughly translated as “King Blabbermouth.”
Watch closely near the end, when Keaton is shot and Verbal hides behind the pile of ropes. As Verbal runs to the ropes he passes behind a stack of tires and does not emerge, but the pan quickly continues to the ropes. Bryan Singer told Kevin Spacey to stop behind the tires so Verbal isn’t actually seen hiding behind the ropes, because “There’s no one there. There was never anyone behind the ropes.”
The role of Dave Kujan was offered to Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken, who both turned it down.