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Reservoir Dogs is a testament to the idea that "less is more." This doesn't
apply to the violence, the film is extremely violent from beginning to end,
but the details of the botched diamond heist, which the entire film is based
on, are conveyed only in the dialogue, except for one scene where Mr. Pink
(Steve Buscemi) recalls his escape. The whole film takes place after the
failed robbery is over, and the mystery that unfolds among the criminal
participants is amazing to watch.
This is not a normal crime film. The thing that really sets Reservoir Dogs apart from all of the others is that it is PURE. When you look at the screen, you're looking at reality. There are no Hollywood actors, there's no make-up to make them look pretty, there's little to no comic relief, and most important of all, there's no goofy romantic subplot clumsily thrown in, a detrimental trademark of so many action films, as well as virtually all Jerry Bruckheimer films. Instead of all of that garbage, Tarantino decided to just present the film as simply and straightforwardly as possible, and by doing that he makes it seem that you're really looking at a bunch of criminals trying to figure out what to do after a suspiciously failed robbery.
Even though most of the actors were known at the time this film was made, the film was delivered in such a way that you don't see the actors at all, you only see the brutal characters that they portray. It is genuinely frightening to imagine being in the same room with any of them, and this is a quality that is rarely achieved in any kind of film.
Make no mistake, Reservoir Dogs is among the most violent films ever made, and some scenes are really painful to watch, but the way that reality is captured is something that justifies the violent excesses in this film. The violence is never glorified, nor is the criminal lifestyle. When films are overly violent, they usually get branded as such, but despite the extreme violence, Reservoir Dogs still manages to deliver an important overall message about the consequences of your actions. It remains high on the growing list of Tarantino's classic films, and it will not be soon forgotten.
The first time I saw Reservoir Dogs, I was about 15, it had been banned
in my country, and I heard it was extremely voilent. Naturally I did
everything in my power to get my paws on a copy, and when I finally did
see it, I was disappointed. I was just sitting there saying "Wheres all
the violence", Anyway, I watched it till the end, and then I watched it
again, and since then it has just grew on me.
This is one of the movies I don't get bored watching time and time again. I still watch it at least once a year, because its not the kind of movie you watch to unwind or to pass the time. You simply watch it for the sheer quality and originality of the movie. The one liners are classic: "Are you gonna bark all day...", "I'll make you my dog's bitch". Mr.Blonde is totally believable as a psycho. I mean who stops to get fries and soda just after committing a robbery? The fact that everything is ludicrous, but you don't know this because these guys, and the way they talk is so impossibly cool that you just accept it. This movie is all about the dialog. The violence is used sparingly, and to better effect. The way the film is edited is genius. Its almost like you forget the whole movie after you watch it, and the next time you watch it, there's a whole scene that you forgot was there. The storyline is unpredictable and thrilling. This is better that Pulp Fiction and in my opinion definitely Tarintino's best movie. I didn't care much for the "Kill Bill" movies, but who cares, I'm not reviewing them.
If you haven't seen Reservoir Dogs, just rent it, buy it or steal it right now.
This is without a doubt one of the best movies I've ever seen and definately
deserves its position on the Top 250. It's an acquired taste, but if you've
been desensitised to violence (as i have), then you will want to watch this
again from the minute it ends. Every single actor was perfectly fitted for
its character. Steve Buscemi as the squirrely Mr. Pink, Harvey Keitel as the
veteran Mr. White, and of course, Michael Madsen as the phsycotic Mr.
Blonde. The list goes on and on.
Some people said that the violence was unnecessary and didn't move the plot forward as it did with Pulp Fiction. I agree, but the violence was used to develop the character's personalities. It showed their disregard for human life and that our anti-heros saw killing a cop as being as stepping on a cockroach .
I urge future viewers of this movie not to instantly compare it to Pulp Fiction and enjoy it as it's own film. An interesting thrill-ride crime drama from beginning to end, I give this film *****/*****
From the opening moments of "Reservoir Dogs" you sense that you are watching a different kind of crime drama. The style and dialog of this picture bestows a level of intelligence upon it's characters that defies the reality of their chosen profession. Having said that,this movie is absolutely riveting in it's movements from the ordinary, to the grim, to the horrific aspects of a career criminal. Quintin Tarantino has written a tale of an almost corporate order to constructing a crime gang. The delight is in meeting these characters one by one. The particular crime is no more crucial to the film than a 7-11 stick-up. The crux of the movie is the portrayal of the rainbow of characters who find themselves involved in a life of crime. Much has been made of the violence in the movie, but it only serves to point out that all men are different......even the crooked. The director has included a number of very memorable scenes. This is not a linear film. The movie works more as a series of set pieces that weave together a story that is not as important as the individual parts that you have the pleasure of observing. This movie may take more than one viewing to truly appreciate.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A couple of weeks ago, I was blessed with a rare opportunity. one of the
movie theaters in town did a midnight showing of this. Naturally, being a
"Dogs" freak, I went down and saw it.
To say I was blown away would be an understatement. I have only seen two of Mr. Tarantino's films in the theater. This being one, and "Kill Bill" being the other. I only became a fan of his a year ago and have subsequently seen all of his films and own them all.
It really was a treat to be able to sit in the movie theater and watch this while eating grossly overpriced popcorn and drinking a grossly overpriced soda.
For those who don't know, the film involves a jewelry heist. Six strangers including Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Eddie Bunker, Tarantino himself, and Tim Roth are recruited by a crime boss named Joe Cabot, (Lawrence Tierney) and his son Eddie, whom everybody calls "Nice Guy" (Chris Penn). The six are almost all friends or associates of Cabot, particularly Keitel and Madsen. Cabot gives them colors for names (Mr. White, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Pink, Mr. Blue, etc.) And expressly forbids them to reveal anything about themselves to each other, so if anyone is caught, no one can inform on anybody. But the heist goes wrong, the cops seem to show up way to fast, some members of the group are killed, and the rest start returning to the rendesvous point to try to sort out what went wrong. After the arrival of Mr. Pink, They realize that one of the number is a police informer. The arrival of Mr. Blonde, and the present he has in his trunk, complicates things even more. Things are also complicated by the fact that since no one knows each other, discovering who the informer is is given added difficulty, since no one trusts each other.
This film, Tarantino's first, is one of the best, if not the best one he has ever done. but part of this credit has to go to his outstanding cast. Keitel is an old pro at this type of thing, he has the distinction of being the first older actor who's career seemed to be going into a slump and who has recovered thanks to Tarantino's casting. But Tarantino can't claim sole credit for that, because Keitel really got the ball rolling on the project and help him score his budget and the prominence to gain his cast. Buscemi IS Mr. Pink. Tarantino wrote the role for himself, and he would have been good, but Buscemi brings a type of weasly professionalism to the role that no one else could. Penn and Tierney are ideally cast as the father and son who are left to sort out the mess of the robbery, Bunker is only in a few scenes but livens up the proceedings. Tarantino gives himself the perfect monologue for his character (Like a Virgin is a metaphor for big d*cks), and Tim Roth gives a spectacular performance as Mr. Orange, who is relegated to bleeding on the floor for a large chunk of the movie. His scene in the car when he has just been shot is particulary outstanding. But then, of course, I have to throw out a special nod to my favorite character in the piece, Mr. Blonde, as portrayed by Michael Madsen. Blonde is the definition of "Bad*ss", and Madsen fits him like a glove. His first scene back at the warehouse is particularly memorable, as is the "Ear torture sequence". Without Madsen's portraying of Mr. Blonde, I don't think the "Ear" scene would have worked, Madsen just does something with it that nobody else can. Not only does Blonde have most of the coolest lines, he's fun to watch on screen, especially his reaction to a gun pointed in his face by Mr. White. Madsen rocks!
"Dogs" Is one of the few movies where I don't think thae casting could have been any better. Part of the reason it works as well as it does has to go the the way the cast works with each other. No one seems to think that they are better than anyone else, and no one seemed to approach the project with the stuck up feeling of how bad it was that they were doing an indie film on a low budget and with an unknown director. Every single member of the cast gives everything he (or, to a much lesser extent, she) has. It's this mindset that, I think, has made "Dogs" the classic it is today. Little could be improved upon.
As a side note, This came out a year after "Thelma and Louise" which also stars Harvey Keitel and Michael Madsen. However, in "Dogs" They play ruthless characters. In "T&L" they play the only sympathetic Male characters in the entire movie. An ideal would be to watch "T&L" then "RD" and really see the difference. They are two great actors, and they deliver. And for those who enjoyed Madsen in this, I also recommend "Kill Me Again", made a few years earlier, and which also features a scene where he tortures someone.
"Dogs" is a great film to watch. Not a date flick, but for a cops and robbers movie, it's perfect. Seeing it for the first time in a theater, it hasn't lost it's touch, and the "Stuck in the Middle with You"/Ear sequence has never been more intense or memorable.
I watched this movie for the first time without knowing what the movie was about. I remember hearing about how cool this movie was and I saw people wearing shirts and listening to the soundtrack, but I had never seen it. So when it first came out on DVD, I bought it without ever watching it before. In Tarantino I trust. For good reason. This is a classic movie, a throwback. A movie about a jewel heist gone wrong and the consequences of working with strangers. This flick has a great cast, great script, and flawless direction. Taratino films are great because they stress the story more than anything else. In all of his movies, the script is strong enough to carry the movie. Now add good over the top acting and you have a hit. The realism of this movie is what grabs you. You really feel like you are in that abandoned warehouse. If felt privileged to have bought such a movie without watching it first. An instant classic. I love this movie!
After watching this half a dozen times with a biased, anti-Tarantino, "what the heck is so great about this guy, anyway" view(which, as most anyone watching any film with that view and a fair bit of self-knowledge will tell you, is a rather fruitless practice in pointlessness... if you've decided you're not going to like it, there's very little reason to think that you will, no matter how good it is; you need an open mind), I finally decided to give it a fair hearing... and I saw it for what it is. An unusual film, at least for its time. A stylish film full of cool dialog, cinematography, editing and music. The whole thing comes together perfectly and is very short of creating a sublime film experience. The plot is excellently written and told. The pace is perfect. I wasn't bored for a second, nor did I ever really want it to move faster or slower. The cinematography is magnificent, and incredibly well-integrated. Pans, dolly trips and, lest we forget, the stationary shots... all perfectly used. Very stylized. The acting is top-notch all-round. With most of the cast being name actors, this is no surprise, but they really do shine. Madsen, Buscemi, Keitel, Roth... all incredible. The one role that had less than good... well, let's be honest, it had rather awful acting. I'm speaking, of course, of Tarantino's character. Now, don't get me wrong; in From Dusk Till Dawn, this man did great. But just about any other time I've seen him act, he just doesn't seem to have the first clue. Being a film-maker myself(albeit on somewhat of a smaller scale than Quentin), I can relate to wanting to cast yourself in a role... but sometimes, you just need to face up to the facts, and admit it if you can't act. Still, that is a minor complaint. Another one might be that there are at least two fairly big characters that seem completely and entirely expendable... they had no real role in the action and could very, very easily have been cut with no real loss to the overall product. I won't name them here, but anyone who's seen the film will know who I'm talking about. All the characters, however, are well-written and their actions credible. Tarantino knows his stuff when it comes to writing... something that also shows in the dialog, which, although somewhat drawn-out at times, is exceptional. Well-delivered, too. When it comes to direction, he shows how talented he is, as well. The film is very well put together. The editing is great, with the non-linear time-line telling the story far better than a "regular" film ever could. One of the many Tarantino-fans, in fact, the very person who originally talked me into watching this film, once told me that he had heard of someone editing films with such time-lines - this, Pulp Fiction, Memento, etc. - so that their time-lines were perfectly linear. I'm sorry, I entirely respect their right to do such a thing... and I won't claim that their doing so has less artistic value than the original films in any way... but I refuse to watch that. A big part of this being so well-told lies in the time-line. Also, I'm a firm believer of watching something the way the makers intended it. Don't edit, don't censor, don't make your own version and pass it off as anything but just that... your own version, and not the original. Sorry, rant over. Finally, I just need to comment on the music... the soundtrack of this is just great. Tarantino collected so many amazing 70's tunes for this film and used them great. All in all, just a really, really good film. Very little keeps this from being a perfect ten, most of which I've covered here. I recommend this to anyone who can stomach the violence and who likes their films with a side of style. 8/10
Four of six ruthless criminals await for their boss at an abandoned
warehouse. After finding the diamond heist that they had all teamed up
to accomplish was a trap, they realize that one of them is a police
The movie is told through a series of flashbacks from each of the criminals. I have never seen this done so breathtakingly. "Dogs" is an absolute masterpiece. It may not be Tarantino's best but is definitely one of the greatest movies of all time. There is absolutely nothing between the satirical writing or the hard-to-watch murders that could possibly make the movie any more perfect. Overall, the movie is absolutely incredible and I do not wish to say anymore to give away any sense of the ending.
I highly recommend this movie.
It's hard to get your head around the fact that 'Reservoir Dogs' has been
around for ten years. It's almost difficult to remember a time before
Tarantino made such an enormous impact (good and bad) on movies, but I saw
this movie first time round before the hype. All I knew was that, like
another "dog" movie from the same era that I saw, 'Man Bites Dog', that it
was supposed to be violent, funny and disturbing, and that it starred a long
time favourite of mine Harvey Keitel, and Tim Roth, who I mainly knew from
Greenaway's 'The Cook The Thief His Wife & Her Lover'. Okay, I hope it's
good I thought as I waited in the cinema listening to some half remembered
70s A.M. pop and a strange conversation about Madonna's sex life (the cinema
was playing the soundtrack album before the main feature, but what did we
know). Then the movie itself, electrifying and fascinating from the word go.
It's impossible to describe the impact of seeing this for the first time
without knowing what to expect! Still one of my greatest movie memories. Ten
years later I've seen it countless times so the surprise has obviously worn
off, but it is still a brilliant movie because beneath the violence and
wise-cracks of Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi - 'In The Soup'), Mr. Blonde (Michael
Madsen - 'Thelma & Louise'), and Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn - 'At Close
Range'), there is a lot of depth, that being the very human relationship
between Mr. White (Keitel) and Mr.Orange (Roth). To me that is one of the
things that elevates this above the many lame and unoriginal
"Tarantinoesque" movies we've had to endure since 'Pulp Fiction'. His
imitators just simply don't have a clue!
Simply brilliant cinema, and a modern classic. This is absolutely essential viewing!
Crime boss Joe Cabot brings together a group of criminals to perform a big
one-off job. To protect each other, they all use colour coded names.
However on the day of the job, the police ambush the gang and each makes
their own getaway. As the gang comes together at their warehouse meeting
point they realise that someone within the gang must have tipped the
or be an undercover. The accusations and suspicions escalate into
in the confines of the warehouse.
When this film came out in the UK it caused an absolute firestorm of controversy over it's violence, even to the point that it was banned in the UK for a while. I still find this absurd and am very glad we have moved to a more tolerant society where generally the BBFC protect vulnerable groups but let adults decide for themselves. Looking at the media's adoring welcome for the ultra violent Kill Bill one can't help but marvel at how things have changed. Looking at Reservoir Dogs now (or even then!) it simply isn't THAT violent. However what it is is very sudden and all the more powerful for it.
Tarantino directs the film and writes the film in such a way that it was impossible to ignore him even if the film was only a cult hit. The dialogue is both witty at points but, more importantly, very tough and loaded with testosterone. It is the writing that makes us like these coffee shop jokers at the start before shocking us by suddenly throwing us into a backseat bloodbath. The entire job happens off camera, and only occasionally do we actually see the immediate effect of violence - usually we get the aftermath. It is incredibly tight and very tense throughout, I was about 16 when my father took me to see this film - it has stayed with me since and I still considered it to be one of the best `job gone wrong' films of my generation. It may not be original (there's a thin line between a homage and a rip off) but it is certainly effectively done.
The cast are excellent and turn the hardboiled dialogue into convincing scenes. Keitel is wonderful. His character is a father figure of sorts and he is wildly out of control at times and balanced at others. Likewise Buscemi is wide-eyed and freaking out for much of the film, but he does it well. Roth is more balanced but is still good for it; it is his job to carry the emotional weight of the film and he does it well, despite a wandering American accent at times. Madsen is great, maybe not the best character but wildly out of control. Tierney was a great piece of casting, as was Bunker. Penn is good but not the best of the cast.
Tarantino mercifully has little acting to do, but it is his film as writer and director. The flashbacks during the film was a brave way to do it but it really works well - mixing stories with flashbacks and so on. No matter what the time of the scene, it all keeps moving tensely towards the climax. It may be a homage and not as original as some films but so what - it is tight and tense, macho, violent, funny and very enjoyable.
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