Study Guide

The Usual Suspects Kobayashi Mug

Kobayashi Mug

As Kujan stares at the bulletin board (and you can almost hear the ka-blam sound of his mind exploding) he drops his coffee mug, which shatters on the floor.

This part of the movie really upsets us. We're always brought to tears when perfectly good coffee—or perfectly good coffee accessories—are wasted.

But breaking this mug achieves a major breakthrough: Kujan sees that brand name on the fragment from the bottom of the mug reads, "Kobayashi"—a fact punctuated by the strings on the soundtrack dramatically swelling.

This shows that Verbal didn't just make up a few small details in his story—like riffs about a barbershop quartet and picking coffee beans. He made up big details, like the name of Keyser Söze's own henchman, a crucial player in the movie.

The mug leaves us thinking—if Verbal invented the name of Kobayashi, how much of his story can we believe?

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