Thursday, November 25, 2010

845. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Running Time: 99 minutes
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Written By: Quentin Tarantino
Main Cast: Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn


Remember when I was nearing 201 films watched and I slipped in "Sideways" to see how watching a longtime personal favorite would effect the outcome of my TOP 20 list? Well, in watching "Reservoir Dogs", I'm essentially doing the same thing, just a lot earlier. This has always been a favorite of mine and in fact, Quentin Tarantino has long been a favorite director of mine. As my director interests are beginning to sway in other directions, in my opinion, "Reservoir Dogs" still holds up as a great film.

The film is told in a non-linear fashion, flip-flopping around as Tarantino gives us tidbits of information, as he sees fit. The entire film revolves around a group of criminals who are plotting a diamond heist, from a jewelry wholesaler. The five men who will carry out the job are brought together by two masterminds, the father and son duo of Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) and "Nice Guy" Eddie (Penn). The five have no prior knowledge of any of the others' identity and are given code names to protect this information. There's Mr. Orange (Roth), Mr. White (Keitel), Mr. Pink (Buscemi), Mr. Blonde (Madsen), Mr. Blue (Edward Bunker) and Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino). We're treated to very little of the events surrounding the actual robbery and more to the aftermath. The film takes place mostly in an abandoned warehouse, where the men have planned to meet up once the job was done. Mr. White and Mr. Orange are the first two back to the warehouse and Mr. Orange has suffered a critical wound to the belly. As Mr. White consoles Mr. Orange and we're treated to the more human side of these criminals, Mr. Pink arrives. Mr. Pink makes it known that he has no doubts that there is a rat in the group, stating that the cops were waiting there for them, causing everything to go awry. We also learn that during the robbery, Mr. Blue and Mr. Brown were killed and that Mr. Blonde went on a "kill crazy rampage", shooting everyone in sight. As the criminals gather at the warehouse and await further instructions from Joe and Eddie, we're treated to marvelous dialogue and flashbacks to the events that brought the crew together.


The thing that I've always enjoyed about this film is Tarantino's almost flawless execution. Tarantino is a master at writing dialogue and I think he is well aware of this fact. The reason I think he is well aware of this fact, is because he starts of "Reservoir Dogs" with some amazing dialogue, as the crew sit in a coffee shop and discuss menial topics, such as the real meaning of Madonna's "Like A Virgin" and why Mr. Pink doesn't tip. He hooks us with that dialogue and by the time that scene is over and the credits roll, we're buckled up and ready for Tarantino to take us wherever he may. Following that, before we even find out that these men are criminals, we're shown their human side, as Mr. White consoles Mr. Orange and protects him as if it were his own child. White holds Orange's hand, combs his hair for him, tells him it's not as bad as it looks and whispers something in his ear (that we don't hear), making him laugh, despite his critical wound. Then we start to get more pieces to the puzzle, after Mr. Pink arrives and he talks with Mr. White. We start to learn that these men were behind a robbery and that there were diamonds involved. Then we get some flashback, we learn more about these characters and how they came to be stuck together in the middle of a heist.

The key to "Reservoir Dogs" is the fleshed out characters, the dialogue and the fact that Tarantino places several elements into play, the key element being that one of these men is a rat. I don't remember the first time I watched this movie, but I wish I could watch it again not knowing who the rat is. In fact, I wish there would've been someway for Tarantino to hold off revealing the identity of the rat, until closer to the end. I think it really would've been fun to play the guessing game throughout the movie and try to figure out which one of these guys was the undercover cop. But we find out at about the halfway mark which of the colorful characters is the cop and everything still meshes together fine.

One last personal note, before I wrap up here. I'll never forget my brother sitting me down when I was a young teenager and showing me a lot of movie that would eventually turn into personal favorites of mine. This was one of them and it will always hold a special place, for that reason. This is a movie that I can pop in at anytime and watch, and despite knowing the outcome, I can still enjoy it every single time. Although, this time around, it didn't give me that '10' vibe that I had it pegged for, it still is a great movie and one that I would recommend to anyone...well almost anyone.

RATING: 9/10 I can't really put an explanation on why this isn't a '10', other than the fact that I just wasn't feeling a '10' exuding off of this one. Nonetheless, it's still an awesome flick.


November 24, 2010 10:55pm


  1. Several years later after first seeing this, I still don't know if its any good.. or should be just dumped in the goreporn pile...
    I am coming slowly round to seeing it as it was probably meant to be.. and learing to detach it from it's large fan base who do just love to watch 'that great bit where 'e slices 'is ear off'

  2. Ray - It's good to see you back. The ear scene for me has nothing to do with the appeal. For me, the appeal is the dialogue and Tarantino grabs me with his opening scene, having all of his "mobster" type characters sitting around gabbing about Madonna. It will always be one of my favorites and probably one of the movies that made me appreciate movies.


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