Monday, April 8, 2013

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

"Reservoir Dogs," Quentin Tarantino's second film after the little known low-budgeter "My Best Friend's Birthday," is a good and polished early effort from a brilliant and controversial filmmaker.

 A lot of Tarantino's trademarks are present here: extreme violence, black humor, brilliant dialogue, and an unflinching portrayal of racism, but a little more emotion is present than with Tarantino's other works, including a rather touching relationship between two of the main characters, Mr. White and Mr. Orange.

   The color-coordinated characters, Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr. Blue (Edward Bunker), and Mr. Brown (Director Tarantino) are a group of criminals cornered by the police during a diamond heist.

   After a bloody shootout, a group of them escape, including Mr. Orange (Roth), who is badly injured in the getaway. Stationed at a hiding spot, the remaining thieves suspect that someone among them may be a police informer. And with volatile Blonde in their midst, the situation has nowhere to go but down.

   As per usual with Tarantino, the dialogue is clever and quirky, rife with the idiosyncrasies and oddities of daily life. I didn't find the dialogue as funny this time round as "Pulp Fiction," which was ultimately a more engaging work. The acting here is very good, with Chris Penn as "Nice-Guy" Eddie being a weak-point in an otherwise strong cast.

   Tim Roth is a stand-out as reluctant newbie Orange, while Michael Madsen as Blonde makes a very convincing psycho. Harvey Keitel and Steve Buscemi give steady support as White and Pink, respectively. The violence is occasionally shocking and provoked walk-outs during "Reservoir Dogs'" stint at the film festival circuit, but may have become less so with time.

    Overall, "Reservoir Dogs" embodies what we have come to expect from Tarantino -- shocks, thrills, and graphic violence -- like an invigorating roller-coaster ride, but with a little extra heart. We care about the relationship between White and Orange, and the following events saddens us. But most of all, it is spectacular Tarantino entertainment. Who could ask for anything more? 


  1. We analyzed this movie in a film class that I took in college, and it blew my mind (and started my love affair with all things Tarantino). Awesome flick.

  2. Love this one. It is one of the few films that mostly remains in one setting and stays interesting throughout.

  3. I used to work with a client who has a poster of this in his office. I'm curious about it but I'm afraid it just might be too violent for me, just based on the reviews I've read. No doubt it's a classic from QT though.

  4. First saw Reservoir Dog last year I think and it blew me away. It's probably my favourite Tarantino film just because the dialog is so sharp and it's a fantastically written film. You can see how Tarantino evolved and developed his film making from here.

  5. One of QT's best films. Pulp Fiction has better dialogue, but I've always preferred this film overall. The ear scene is probably the most memorable scene from any QT film for me.

  6. Yup, it's still remains Tarantino best film after Pulp Fiction. Outstandingly good and one that I must revisit soon.


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