Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Genre: Crime, Thriller

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Writers: Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary

Starring: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Edward Bunker, Lawrence Tierney

Rating: ★★★★★

Reservoir Dogs was Quentin Tarantino’s breakthrough film as it made a prestigious name at the Sundance Festival of 92’.  A mixture between cool, gruesome and fun it is one of my favourite films being somewhat flawless in form of story, directing, acting and soundtrack.  It is entertaining from the very first second and deserves its place as an all-time classic and one of the best films ever made.

The film stays mainly within a warehouse in the aftermath of a jewellery heist gone incredibly wrong after a police ambush.  As the story unfolds we are introduced to the infamous colour-coded gangsters as the four remaining survivors discuss who’s betrayed them and “what the fuck happened!” Mr White (Harvey Keitel) and Mr Orange (Tim Roth) charge into the warehouse, Mr Orange has been shot in the gut, blood everywhere, Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi) shorty follows, screaming it’s a set-up. Shouting, swearing, screaming they’re clueless in what to do and who has betrayed them.  The film then switches showing the story of how they were picked for the job by leader, “the thing” look-alike Joe Calbot (Lawrence Tierney). Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen) then strolls in; he’s psychotic and has a cop in the boot as a hostage; they attempt to find the rat again. Soon after Eddie (Chris Penn) arrives, the son of Joe, he’s angry, Joe is angrier, they go through the plan again together, the meetings, their history looking for the rat that has turned a robbery into a mix between a bloodbath and a western stand-off.

It is easy to spot the link between the pure genius in structure when looking at Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction as it is flawless. Starting completely with intriguing dialogue and introductions, followed by thrilling action which leads to “flashbacks” filling every hole and answering every question about each character and story; finishing in an amazing end climax filled with swearing, loud bangs and blood.  The script is hilarious at times with so many classic lines – “Why am I Mr Pink?” “Cause you’re a fucking faggot” –  “Don’t you think Mr Brown is too close to Mr Shit” – “Are you gonna bark all day little doggy or are you gonna bite?” – The dialogue is then complemented by classic scenes, including the famous and somewhat horrific ear-cutting scene which is filmed directly to the 70’s classic Stuck in the Middle of You as Mr Blonde decides to play games with his hostage, it is one of my favourite film scenes ever created.  The whole film, from start to finish is filled with fun and entertainment and rarely within in a film there is not a single boring moment you want to rush through.

The characters are excellently developed within the structure, Mr White is our main character somewhat, and we like him most. Mr Pink is annoying, selfish and pig-like, he also doesn’t tip waitresses. Mr Blonde is a psycho; however he’s cool mysterious and someone who you wouldn’t argue with. The stories are so well structured and planned out you learn and see into the personality of each character. The acting of these characters is also a faultless aspect, Harvey Keitel as Mr White is brilliant with the final and opening scenes really being his highlights.  Buscemi’s Mr Pink is also another standout, although annoying he deserves credit for some great moments especially when he’s calming down Blonde and White.

The all 70’s soundtrack is something which adds this fun and different element to Reservoir Dogs making it stand out.  Simply including it would have had a great effect within the film however in a master-class way Tarantino many times makes the music diegetic putting it within the “film world”. Shown in full extent as Mr Blonde cuts of an ear and then throughout as the gang plays K-BILLY’s 70’s classics driving around.

Reservoir Dogs is an unforgettable watch, one which you will go back to time and time again as the film is definitely one of the best and most definitely one of my favourites ever made.  Tarantino’s debut is simply faultless showing its own created style within every frame.  Classic dialogue, an excellently executed story, a cool soundtrack along with brilliant acting makes this an easily watchable, fully entertaining experience.

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12 comments on “Reservoir Dogs (1992)

  1. I consider myself to be very much a fan of this ‘type’ of movie. Not the genre as such, but this kind of cult movie, Pulp Fiction, Very Bad Things, British gangster movies, that kind of thing. But I strongly dislike this movie, I was frustrated at missing the actual crime and the set piece, all in one room, stuff drove me crazy, not QT best work in my opinion

    • Me too, Pulp Fiction is great, also more recently Drive in a way too! Shame you didn’t like it and hm I’m sure QT would have actually drafted in that scene but the way it was described was good enough for me! For me it is one of his best 🙂

  2. Yes Liam, this is what I am talking about, top review man. I totally agree with you on all fronts. I watched this iflm for the first time around 5 or 6 years ago and I fell in love with it. The dialogue is amazing, the cast is incredible, love the soundtrack and the just in general the film gives off a crazy, violent and cool vibe. Loads of people bum the hell out of Pulp Fiction (which is a great film, no doubt about that), but they seem to forget this one which in my opinion is way more fun and crazy to watch. I’d say this is probably my second favourite QT film behind Inglorious Basterds.

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