To all the film fanatics and general movie-goers out there, if you haven’t seen Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, then you’re seriously missing out on one of the greatest pieces of filmmaking ever. The film is about five strangers who assemble to pull off a diamond heist, but things don’t go according to plan. One of the men is an infiltrator working for the police. But which one? Tempers flair as each of the men question each other’s guilt, which threatens to blow the whole operation.
As one of his earliest films, Tarantino hadn’t completely perfected his signature style, because you can tell the film is the work of a first-time director, particularly as it has aged over time. However, I believe Reservoir Dogs has a unique place in the world of cinema for one simple reason; it is a simple story executed with such originality and innovation. Whatever your opinion is of Tarantino, as arrogant and egotistical as he may be, you can’t deny that he is a creative genius.
Only Tarantino would begin a film with a group of guys sitting in a diner, with one of the characters (Tarantino himself) ranting about how Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” is really about a girl who has an appetite for well-endowed men. The scene is an exercise in style and great writing, as the men sit around making jokes and telling stories, and it seems they were just simply enjoying breakfast, before executing their planned diamond heist.
To conceal their identities, the men have colour-coded names, and Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) is the first one we meet after the opening credits, as well as Mr. White (Harvey Keitel). The film progresses non-chronologically and it is clear that something has gone horribly wrong, in-between the time when we first meet all the characters, and after the credits, as Mr. Orange is in a deathly situation. What the hell has happened? Where are all the other men? These questions will be occupying your thoughts, as we see Mr. White driving erratically with Mr. Orange in the backseat of the car.
The film accumulates into a final bloody showdown in an abandoned warehouse, where the men, including Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) and Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), try to piece together what went wrong, attempting to uncover the rat in the group.
The action in Reservoir Dogs is sublime. There is a certain sense of freedom about the way all the action and gun-fights are shot. Most of the character development occurs through flashbacks, which works wonderfully, and doesn’t derail the film in the slightest. In comparison to Tarantino’s other films, the characters in Reservoir Dogs are much more one-note and lack the same complexities and dimensions as his other characters. However, they are still all very compelling and vibrant, and I particularly enjoyed Harvey Keitel as Mr. White, who’s arguably the most sympathetic character in the group. The performances are stellar, and Michael Madsen, in particular, is very convincing as a menacing psychopath.
Being such a great film, it is astonishing that Tarantino managed to direct an even better film two years later in the form of the masterpiece, Pulp Fiction (1994). The films do appear to be connected in the broader universe Tarantino has created, and there is an excess of fan theories for how they tie together.
Crucially, Reservoir Dogs is an essential watch for some truly inventive and action-packed filmmaking. So if you haven’t seen the film – buy it, rent it, or acquire it by some other means, because Reservoir Dogs is a cult classic you simply cannot overlook.
Quoted: “You ever listen to K-Billy’s “Super Sounds of the Seventies” weekend? It’s my personal favourite
Directed and written by: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen
Run Time: 99 min.
Do you agree with my review? What’s your favourite Tarantino film? Let me know in the comments below.