Part of every male’s fantasy is to dress up in black tuxedos, wear sunglasses and walk down the road like the opening credit sequence of Reservoir Dogs. With this cult crime film of 1992, debuted one of the greatest and most eccentric directors of modern time; Quentin Tarantino. The film stars Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Eddie Bunker, Steve Buscemi and Tarantino himself.
Reservoir Dogs, just like Tarantino’s other films, is out of chronological order. It tells the story of a gang put together by mob head Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) to pull off a diamond heist. The events before and after the heist are depicted without showing the actual heist.
At the beginning of the movie, the complete gang is seen having breakfast and engaging in casual conversation about music. They refer to each other using aliases like Mr White, Mr Orange, Mr Blonde, Mr Brown, Mr Blue and Mr Pink. At no point can it be deduced that they are about to rob a jewellery house.
The heist is busted by the cops and the gang scatters. Mr White carries of a mortally wounded Mr Orange to the gang’s rendezvous point, where mysteriously no one is present. Mr Pink arrives a little later and says that the heist was a setup and that someone among them was a rat. During regular intervals, we are taken back to the time before the robbery and are shown instances in the lives of Mr White, Mr Blonde and Mr Orange, primarily their relationships with Joe Cabot. Soon, the gang falls apart as they try to work out what went wrong and who’s responsible.
Reservoir Dogs can best be described as a typical Tarantino movie. The story is relatively simple but the narration scores. There is an unapologetic use of strong language which at certain times seems forced. Depiction of violence is gruesome, even for a crime movie. There’s a scene in which Mr Blonde cuts off a cop’s ear with a straight razor and speaks ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ For most of the movie, Mr Orange lies in a huge pool of blood which towards the end becomes very sickening. In terms of dark humour and racial epithets, Reservoir Dogs comes very close to Pulp Fiction (another of Tarantino’s crime noir).
The cast is very convincing in their roles, especially Madsen as the trigger-happy psychotic Mr Blonde and Buscemi as the paranoid Mr Pink. From this movie on, Tarantino built a reputation of getting the best out of his actors.
Reservoir Dogs is not your regular crime movie. With a non-linear narration and over the top violence, some may find it repulsive. But if you are game for a movie that works, not because of its story but because of the director’s execution of the idea (Tarantino fans know what I’m talking about) you should surely check out Reservoir Dogs. You won’t get the thrills, you won’t get the action but by the time the movie ends, you’ll definitely want a tuxedo in your wardrobe.
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