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Reservoir Dogs (DVD)
Member Name: mmintfresh
Reservoir Dogs (DVD)
Date: 25/08/02, updated on 25/08/02 (772 review reads)
Advantages: Fantastic film
Disadvantages: some won't like violence
The film opens with a group of guys talking about the lyrics to Madonna's 'like a virgin' song they seem like a perfectly normal group of guys. But they are not this at all. They are a group of robbers preparing to do a job. They are led by Joe (Lawrence Tierney) has put together the whole heist with his son Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn). They have assembled a group of six guys, who don't know each other and are to work under alias's, therefore if one gets caught they can't squeal because they don't know who they were working with. Joe chooses their names from a colour chart, Mr White (Harvey Keitel), Mr Orange (Tim Roth), Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr Brown (Quentin Tarantino), Mr Blue (Eddie Bunker) and the unfortunately named Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi). After having an argument about tips they leave and set off to do the heist, walking moodily towards the camera as they go. We then cut to the present and real time, as it were.
The heist was a disaster, and we meet Mr White frantically driving to a warehouse where they were supposed to meet up with Mr Orange screaming and bleeding in the back seat after being shot. Mr Pink arrives and Mr White and him start to talk about the heist. They conclude that they were set up because the cops got there way to quickly. They also discuss how Mr Blonde starting shooting everybody like a psychopath. Mr Blonde arrives and the four sit and stew about who could be the rat, whilst waiting for Joe.
Reservoir Dogs exploded onto the scene in 1991. It came armed with critical acclaim and controversy and introduced the world to Quentin Tarantino. The first thing that struck me about the film is the way the narrative is structured. The film itself takes place just after the robbery and things happen as they happen. This is then split up by flashbacks of them setting up the job, a little about some of the robbers past and the robbery. The film effortlessly jumps from past to present allowing the
viewer to understand more and more about the present situation.
Whilst the film is about a robbery gone wrong it is also about trust . The trust element is seen clearly through the whole business of the rat. The surviving members are trying to figure out who tipped the police off and this shatters Joe's plan. His set up was supposed to encourage trust because it seemed as if none can rat anyone else out, but it does the opposite. The gang is alienated from each other and therefore don't know each other. Creating a great deal of mistrust because none is prepared to put their life in the hands of a stranger. They accuse everyone even Joe. Along with a lot of mistrust there is also the story of Mr Orange and Mr White. They have become friends and White seems almost like a father to Orange, he helps him escape the robbery, he tries to nurse him when he's shot and also shows him the ropes. He then sticks up for Orange insisting that he could never be the rat because he trusts him. Another interesting plot element is how even the most experienced robber can loose it in the face of a botched job. When they see the cops during the robbery they basically panic and do anything to escape getting caught. They shoot people left and right and get shot themselves.
What makes this film great is the performances and the writing and direction from Tarantino. The film itself has one of the best ensemble cast I have ever seen. The main parts, Orange, Blonde, White and Pink are portrayed by four talented actors who give a breath taking performance. Firstly there is Tim Roth. He is great as the sort of rookie robber who gets shot. For most of the warehouse scenes he is passed out and drenched in blood but it is in the flashbacks where he really shines. He does a convincing job of someone trying to get in with a group of hardened criminals and trying to earn their trust. Michael Madsen is also excellent as the disturbing Mr Blonde freshly released from pris
on. He makes Blonde convincingly scary and makes him a cold blooded killer. He makes the standout scene of the mother chilling and convincing. It is of course the infamous ear cutting scene which I'm sure even people who have never seen the film know about. Harvey Keitel puts in another great performance. He manages to make Mr White a likable character even though he is a criminal. He makes him come across as genuine and connects with the audience. Steve Buscemi, who is always good is the hyped up, scene stealing Mr Pink. He provides a lot of the humour. He also fuels the sense of paranoia that drenches many a scene.
Tarantino's script is another reason to see this film. It has the trade marks of his other scripts (Natural Born Killers, True Romance, Pulp Fiction, From Dusk Till Dawn and Jackie Brown) robbery, violence and fantastic dialogue. Tarantino isn't afraid to let the characters spout out mini monologues that take up more screen time than conventional films will allow. The coffee table scene at the beginning is a perfect example. You would never usually have a film open with a long conversation about unimportant things especially when you know nothing about any of the characters or the plot. His dialogue is both clever and funny and makes the film that much better.
Lastly his direction is terrific. He manages to create tension and an oppressive atmosphere. He also creates the sense that at any moment a time bomb could go off. One of the best directed scenes in the movie is when Tim Roth talks about a drug deal. It is both hilarious but keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering whether he will get away with it. The camera circles Roth effortlessly displaying his entrapment in a simple camera movement.
I would definitely recommend this film but some people will not lie it because of the violence and the unconventional structure, however if you lie Tarantino's other work this is a must see.