Monday 9 March 2015

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Having recently watched it for the first time, I thought I’d share my thoughts on Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs, a crime thriller starring Tim Roth, Michael Madson, Chris Penn and more.

For someone who lists Quentin Tarantino as one of their favourite directors, I have actually seen very few of Tarantino’s films. Django Unchained was in fact, the first Tarantino movie that I watched, and it blew me away with just how good it was. So naturally, I had to go and watch as many films that Tarantino directed as possible in preparation for The Hateful Eight, which hits later this year. That’s my goal. To watch all of Tarantino’s movies currently released before that one. The next Tarantino film that I watched was Inglorious Bastards, then – which whilst not quite at the level of Django Unchained, was still a very good film. And then as I was browsing through Netflix on a whim I thought I’d give it a whirl and see how Tarantino’s first full film measured up.

Reservoir Dogs is raw, violent and doesn’t hold anything back. It’s effectively a heist film, but it’s unlike any other heist film you’ve ever seen before, opting not to show the heist, but instead, look at the events leading up to it and the events following it. We first meet all the thieves having food, all acting normal, eating and talking to each other, as though they weren’t going to pull a heist immediately after. Then, we cut to the immediate aftermath of the heist, where two of the thieves are escaping and it’s all gone to hell. Veteran Mr. White and newbie Mr. Orange, have escaped, following a gunfight which left Mr. Brown dead, and unaware that anybody else has made it out alive. Mr. Orange is bleeding heavily, suffering from a severe gunshot wound, and to make matters worse, when the cocky, bickering weasel Mr. Pink shows up, he’s convinced that somebody ratted them out to the cops, and there’s a mole within the organization. The question is, who’s the mole? And can they find him before the cops find them?

Reservoir Dogs has, with one viewing, become one of my favourite crime films. The dialogue feels perfectly natural and each of the characters gets developed as well as they need to. We get to see flashbacks to how each of the characters got recruited to being part of the heist, in a way that doesn’t break up the tension and is handled incredibly well. Each of the characters are clearly defined even without that much characterization, leaving a powerful impact on the audience when at the hands of a lesser director the characters could have been very poor indeed.

As with all Tarantino films, it’s violent and very bloody. Tarantino doesn’t hold back and there’s a particularly uncomfortable torture scene that’s one of the films more gore-filled moments. However, don’t let that put you off, because quite frankly, Reservoir Dogs is one of the best experiences that you will have watching a movie. It makes use of its excellent soundtrack (Guardians of the Galaxy fans will notice Blue Swede’s Hooked on a Feeling, and likewise you’ll probably recognise guest appearances from the Silver Surfer and the Fantastic Four) very well indeed and there are several awesome music moments – if you’re wondering how best to use music in a film, then Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs should serve as a fantastic example.

Reservoir Dogs then, is one of the must-watch crime movies and a classic in its genre. If you haven’t watched it yet, then what are you waiting for? It’s on Netflix, and go check it out, because trust me, you won’t regret it. If you have watched it, then go and watch it again. It’s that good.

VERDICT: 10/10

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