Reservoir Dogs (1992) 4.43/5 (1)


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Rating: The Good – 88.7
Genre: Crime
Duration: 99 mins
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Quentin Tarantino

You know the story: a bunch of suit-clad, blood-drenched criminals end up in their gang’s hideout after a jewelry store heist goes sideways. As they interrogate and accuse each other of being an informant, the backstory to each of the characters is revealed in flashback until the full picture is painted.

Debut directors have rarely announced their arrival with such explosive confidence as Quentin Tarantino did with Reservoir Dogs. From the very first scene, we know that this guy has his own ideas on how to do things. The type of dialogue-embedded action that defines every scene was so new and fresh at the time that it signalled a revolution in cinema. But being the visionary he is, he realised that revolution must come from within and so we have a film full of self-referential flourishes (i.e., those which serve the story not vice versa). This film is a cinema lover’s delight from the colour coded names of the criminals (a nod to The Taking of Pelham 123) to the visceral and innovative action choreography (think John Woo at his best).

It’s hard to imagine now but, back in 1992, Reservoir Dogs was a ferocious cinematic experience. Mr. Pink’s getaway sequence alone made every previous action sequence look pale and timid. And wrapped as it was in Tarantino and Roger Avery’s new metacultural vernacular, it caught everyone’s attention. As he did in later films to even greater effect, Tarantino blends a number of cinematic styles to create his own unique vision. Thus, we’re treated to an array of gorgeous dolly shots, low angle character perspectives, and some of the most subtly impressive examples of staging in modern cinema. The script is white hot and the awesomely good ensemble cast masterfully brings it to life with all the improvisation and genius that you’d come to expect from Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Penn, and co. If for some wild reason you haven’t seen it, then see it and see it now. If you have, see it again.

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