Played By: Kevin Spacey
Movie: The Usual Suspects (1995)
Who is Keyser Söze? According to "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey), the crippled con man who snitches to police to escape prosecution after surviving a mysterious underworld massacre on a ship, he's either a "spook story that criminals tell their kids at night" or the Devil incarnate. Legend has it that he was a Turkish drug dealer who, rather than surrender his business to rivals who threatened his family, killed his wife and children, then snuffed out his enemies—and everyone they'd ever loved or worked with. At which point he receded into the shadows, remotely running a vast criminal empire and ruthlessly eliminating anyone who discovered his identity or ran afoul of him in any way. Hence the ship massacre.
But really, who is Keyser Söze? Fuck if we know, because—SPOILER ALERT—it turns out that Kint, who claims to have been one of five thieves coerced into pulling a job on the vessel as recompense for unknowingly stealing from Söze, is actually the legendary boss putting on a limp and weaving a story using bullshit and various elements from the office where he's being interrogated. All anyone knows for sure is that he just dispatched a ship full of criminals, sat in police custody, played the authorities masterfully, and walked out the front door a free man.
So, who is Keyser Söze? One bad motherfucker. —JM