Monday, September 8, 2014
Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino, 1992) Review
Six men are picked up by crime boss, Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney), with no knowledge of each of each to perform a diamond heist. When they come together, they are given code-names so they focus solely on the job and not themselves. While they were so certain that the heist will go without a hitch, it turns that the police were waiting for them and the team is scattered. They re-group at a warehouse to find that Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) has taken a bullet to the stomach, Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino) and Blue (Edward Bunker) are both dead and Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), White (Harvey Keitel) and Blonde (Michael Madsen) are left to find out who tipped off the police.
Something I noticed with both Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction (other than that Quentin Tarantino is a bloody good film maker) is that Tarantino likes to tell stories out of order and yet makes it work perfectly both times. From the start of the film, I had a hunch that it would be Mr. White and Mr. Pink in a room discussing the heist and not actually showing it. They kind of do both. We only see snippets of the actual heist through the perspective of separate team members which is fascinating. It's almost like an anthology with the warehouse scenes used to connect them together as one long narrative. They throw you into the plot with no knowledge of any of the characters such as where they come from or what they've been doing with themselves and it makes it seem like their lives only matter for this one heist. I guess it makes you question the worth of the heist seeing as two men die and one is left bleeding on the floor for the majority of the film (and used perfectly in the second half of the film. That was a stroke of genius).
I also must praise the choice of music. It's used excellently and is a perfect use of juxtaposition. 'Stuck In The Middle With You' and 'Little Green Bag' are the best implemented songs. The former is infamously used in a context that might make you never enjoy the song again as some ghastly images will pop into your head as it's quite a jaunty song for such as horrific scene while the latter is used to perfectly start off the film and establish the tone very well. 'Little Green Bag' is a song that you can start any film with. It's perfect for that. The writing is fantastic. They manage to hide exposition within realistic dialogue excellently performed by a very strong cast. For a film that's over 20 years old, there are still plenty of moments to make you cheer or shout "Oh my God!". It's a surprisingly satisfying experience. It's hard to pin down the best actors in the film (and just realising while typing this that there are no female characters in this film. That's rare) but if I had to I would say Tim Roth and Harvey Keitel are the two stand out ones while Michael Madsen and Steven Buscemi closely follow in their footsteps. What makes Roth and Keitel work is their relationship in the film which boosts their chemistry while Madsen and Buscemi work individually. In fact, Mr. Blonde rarely intereacts with the main cast and works best on his isolated scenes where he's left to his own devices.
Reservoir Dogs is an ordeal. However, if there was ever such thing as a good ordeal, this is it. It's savage and shocking yet you will enjoy every second of it. Twists and turns are around every corner and is wonderfully put together. The acting, writing, cinematography and music are all well implemented for a thrill ride that is satisfying to say the least. It was the film that made me come back after a long time of silence on this website and is worth talking about. It's fascinating and proves that Quentin Tarantino is a very competent film maker and I will probably search out his other films. I already know that Pulp Fiction is one of the best films I ever seen but there are still more out there.
Almost perfectly put together and satisfying to watch thanks to clever writing and great acting.