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.
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.
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.
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 *****/*****
Tarantino's brutal debut film. From the original initial dialogue, to the final outcome, the director astonishes everyone and makes clear his style: anthological dialogues (pay attention to the discussion in the distribution of colors that will identify each gangster, hilarious) a breakthrough structure, very good soundtrack (as in all his films), great doses of violence (although not at all gratuitous, but rather ironic) and, above all, a lot of black humor. In addition to superb performances by Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi and Chris Penn. In short, a great example of good noir cinema (with all its ingredients: shootings, violence, betrayal, suspense, etc.), but with the innovative and very personal touch of the brilliant director, who would later continue to dazzle with the wonderful "Pulp Fiction". Oh, and the scene from the beginning with "Little Green Bag" is legendary. 10/10
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
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 police or be an undercover. The accusations and suspicions escalate into violence 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.
Bloodily violent, irreverently shocking, politically incorrect, inventively funny and so on and so forth I'm trying to find the right expression to describe "Reservoir Dogs" and I finally got it, it stands in three letters: N-E-W. There was something waiting in the abyssal wombs of cinema, so repressed it was waiting for deliverance with a fierce impatience, a deliverance with a quite original and cool-sounding name: Quentin Tarantino, the new incarnation of modern violence with STYLE. "Reservoir Dogs" is more than a debut; it's a sensational entrance that consecrated Tarantino among the most influential directors of his generation, and THE reference in independent film-making.
Tarantino invented a new style that would never desert his films, and would make each of his creation, the epitome of coolness. It's so fresh to watch "Reservoir Dogs" now and to realize how new it was at that time. I remember the first time I watched the film, I was 17, and the movie literally blew me away in every single aspect, and I guess the fact that I wasn't familiar with the Internet or IMDb was a good thing since it didn't intercede with my approach of the film. I didn't want to know what's so cool about Tarantino, I just discovered him with his film, shortly after watching "Pulp Fiction", and for some reason, I loved "Reservoir Dogs" a little more. Tarantino quickly became my favorite director as a teenager, and in my early 20's because of this level of creativity in the writing, the directing, and the editing.
The writing is Tarantino's trademark and his greatest quality, the movie starts with a whole discussion about the meaning of "Like a Virgin" told by a fast-speaking Tarantino, himself as Mr. Brown, then a whole debate starts about tipping and non tipping. That's the question raised by the first minutes of "Reservoir Dogs" and the least we could say is that the talk is so trivial it sounds real and authentic in its rawness and makes the characters more human, if not sympathetic. More generally, the whole characterization is driven by dialogs so delicately vulgar you never miss the action, or wait for something 'to happen'. Script 'happens' in Tarantino's films, like meals you've already eaten but with a new special taste, something juicy, creamy, and spicy. It's almost an indigestion of creativity I don't need to tell you the lines, if I start them, you know the rest : "You shoot me in a dream ", "Are you gonna bark all day, little doggie?" etc. etc. And these dogs not only bark, but they do bite a lot.
Indeed, if the movie was all dialogs, it wouldn't have had the same impact. It's like Tarantino already knew his lesson, and wanted to make something big, from the beginning. From the iconic slo-mo walking scene down the alley with the opening credits, you get the idea that this "Little Green Bag" song will be the 'hallelujah' glorifying the birth of a new style of film-making, and instinctively, you know something special will happen after these credits, and you're not disappointed by what follows. Blood, blood all over the car seat, and probably one of the most convincing painful screams ever. You really can feel for Tim Roth in that scene, it's like the real actor got one real bullet, and the rest is the touching expression of a growing friendship between Roth as Mr. Orange, and Mr. White, his mentor played by Harvey Keitel. He combs his hear, whispers something that provoke Orange's cute but heartbreaking smile: the chemistry is so believable, you understand that the movie is not just about cool dialogs. Then, comes Mr Pink as Steve Buscemi, asking who the rat is! Because this is the first serious element we have. It's the story of a botched jewel robbery, with a traitor among these gangsters. This question will be the starting point of the narrative with three specific back stories told in flashback.
The three characters depicted in flashback are Mr. White, Mr. Orange, and Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde. And in the memorable-action department, the winner is undoubtedly Mr. Blonde: the one who provided the most iconic and recognizable moment of the film. The iconic ear-cutting scene with the "Stuck In the Middle With You" music, like a reminiscence of "A Clockwork Orange" rape scene with 'Singin' in the Rain' as a musical background, the scene is disturbing, violent, bloody, but also iconic. The violence is not meant to be cool, but just to show how psychotic Mr. Blonde, one of the most twisted gangster villains, is. And his torture is also crucial because it will unmask Mr. Orange as the snitch, and will make his relationship with White, even more complex. In one minute, the movie raises a new dimension, deeper and more tragic.
Forget the cool and raunchy dialogs, the creative editing, where flashbacks interfere with parallel stories, as when we witness a great scene where Orange tells a story within another story. Too many insertions as to create a confusing feeling until the last iconic scene : after the slo-mo opening, the ear-cutting, the Mexican stand-off, as the last memorable scene that would lurch this movie into Pop Culture. Forget the wonderful ensemble cast with so many colorful characters (literally) and such believable actions and reactions like childishly arguing about nicknames instead of preparing a serious job. All these elements are great, but it would have been nothing without the tragedy
The beauty of the film relies on this profound relationship between Mr. Orange and Mr White, made of respect and honor, and the last minute of the film was something that reminded of Peckinpah's films, a moment of honesty and loyalty, incarnated by Orange's last confession, and White's heartbreaking gesture as to redeem the act of a man he still loved as friend Keitel's last look before the movie ends will haunt me forever.
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!
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 informant.
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.
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!
Reservoir Dogs is the debut of director and writer Quentin Tarantino. It stars Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, and Lawrence Tierney. Tarantino has a minor role, as does criminal-turned-author Eddie Bunker.
It feels a bit silly to write it now, but there was a time when Reservoir Dogs barely made a ripple in the cinema loving world; in America that is. Upon its release in the States it was moderately successful and comfortably made back its $1.2 million budget. However, upon hitting the British shores it was a big hit and grossed nearly £6.5 million and then Pulp Fiction exploded on the world in 94 and Reservoir Dogs got reappraised in its home country. The rest as they say is history.
Tarantino, the most enthusiastic of film fans, was once a video store clerk in Redondo Beach. There he dreamed of making his own movies and planned to make Reservoir Dogs with his friends on a relatively small budget. As luck would have it, Keitel got hold of the script and wanted in. With his name attached, and using his contacts, a serious budget was raised and so the Dogs were set loose. At the time of its popularity, Tarantino had to guardedly fend off accusations of plagiarism and a charge of just hacking from older classic heist movies. His argument was that he was making his own homage to the heist caper, but even so, the fact remains that Reservoir Dogs is spliced from The Killing, Kansas City Confidential, The Big Combo, The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three and we can definitely throw in The Asphalt Jungle as well.
Yet Reservoir Dogs is still extraordinarily fresh and vibrant, raising the bar for crime movies in the modern era. Tarantino of course has since gone on to prove his worth with other projects, so in truth his homage movie was merely the foot in the door for the talented son of Knoxville, Tennessee. In terms of its dialogue, tho, and its gleeful use of "ultra-violence," it has few peers. From any decade. It also helps considerably that Tarantino has assembled a quality cast to make his non-linear classic shine. Keitel is a given, but Roth is exceptional, as too is Buscemi, while Madsen is frighteningly convincing as psycho for hire Mr. Blonde. Then there's the 70s soundtrack, a vital part of the narrative as we hear the dulcet tones of Steven Wright Djing on K-Billy's Super Sounds of the Seventies. If you have not seen the film yet? Then I promise you will remember Stealers Wheel-Stuck in the Middle for the rest of your cinema loving days.
And that's the thing with Reservoir Dogs, it's crammed packed full of memorable things. A quip, a bang, a song or the WTF ending, as homages go; it's one of the very best. 9/10
...this is the whole damn meal. "Reservoir Dogs" is about a crime gone horridly awry, and it makes no apologies for its violence, slurs, and language. It doesn't have to, because of its brilliant, gripping script and plot twists, acting that makes you think these people are real, and a flashy presentation of it all. Quentin Tarantino came on the scene not with a whimper but a bang with this story of a diamond heist which is foiled by an undercover cop--one of the criminals. The story unfolds backwards, beginning with Quentin Tarantino waxing poetic on Madonna's "Like a Virgin", and manages to cover Tim Roth writhing around in Harvey Keitel's backseat with a bullet in his stomach, Michael Madsen with a straight razor and a bound & gagged cop, Chris Penn crying rape in his father Laurence Tierney's office, and other insane, violent, and/or hilarious plot lines leading to a dazzling end. The soundtrack adds just the right amount of style and superiority, which you'll understand immediately when the Dogs walk in slo-mo to the tune of "Little Green Bag". This movie can only compare to "Pulp Fiction" with its brilliance, otherwise, it is completely and utterly a unique experience.
When critics say that some films are pornographic because of the way they depict violence, they are referring to the type of violence that appears in "Reservoir Dogs." The film maker's artistic judgment seems to be clouded by a bloodthirsty hatred of police officers. I am thinking particularly of a scene in which a captive police officer is mutilated by his criminal captors. The feeling conveyed to me was one of sadistic joy in the victim's suffering, a sense that he deserved to be mutilated simply because he was a cop. I am sure that some misguided admirers of this film applauded the scene precisely for that reason. Unfortunately, a lot of people hate the police, and for them such a film functions as escapist "entertainment," but "Reservoir Dogs" seems to lack any redeeming value of another kind, like a snuff movie.
The only other time I've seen such poor artistic and ethical judgment in a film was in "Caligula," by the producer Bob Guccione, where in one scene a Roman aristocrat forces a soldier to drink a gallon of wine and then cuts his belly open for the fun of seeing the liquid spill out of it. Some gullible members of the audience actually cheered when they saw that. Like Guccione, Tarantino, director of "Reservoir Dogs" may be a big fan of pornography and possibly he doesn't make the distinction between sex and violence. Certainly everything of his I've seen looks like a porno film stylistically, but he focuses mainly on bloodshed and torture instead of lust and love. Unless you're in the mood for a tasteless exercise in violence, you would do much better to rent John Huston's "Asphalt Jungle," one of the best and most intelligently made caper gone wrong movies ever made.
((((SPOILERS))))) I can think of nothing kind or good or positive to say about this truly repulsive motion picture. It is, quite simply, cruel.
Quentin Tarantino's badly written script focuses on the events leading up to and the aftermath of a botched jewelry store heist. The heist itself is largely inconsequential to the story, as Tarantino's intent was apparently to create a character study of the participants. Yet, he has failed to give any of his characters anything resembling human personalities beyond phony macho posturing. The cast does little to add depth to the characters beyond the routine tough guy gambit of shouting their obscenity-laden dialogue at the top of their lungs. As such, they never raise their one-note performances above the level of brain dead savagery. But good, bad or indifferent, the actors have little to work with in the first place. Tarantino's much deified dialogue is insultingly dull-witted -- banal pop references peppered generously with tiresome profanity. The kindest thing to be said for Tarantino's ability to direct action is that it, at least, distracts from the emptiness of his written words.
But, it is the violence that pushes the film into the realm of the utterly contemptible. There have been films with more violence and with more explicit violence, but few revel in its violence to the extent of RESERVOIR DOGS. The film doesn't use violence to show cause and effect, or to make a social statement, or to reflect reality, or even for cheap shock effect. It is violence for the sake of violence. The violence in DOGS is purely sadistic; a sleazy, pornographic celebration of inhuman cruelty.
Here and in his other violence-obsessed films, Tarantino embraces the infliction of pain as not just an act of power, but of an almost orgasmic display of gratification. Add to this the fact that the victims of the violence are usually bound, helpless, terrified, tortured, randomly selected and undeserving of such cruelty and the violence clearly becomes symbolic of rape. Worse, such savagery encourages the audience to identify with the perpetrator, not the victim, and Tarantino (all too effectively, I'm afraid) tries to make the viewer complicit in his sadism.
Okay, if Tarantino wants to indulge in his little S&M fantasies, that is his business. What is disheartening is the way people -- filmgoers and professional critics alike -- have been seduced into not just tolerating Tarantino's sadism, but to applaud it as well? DOGS centerpiece is the totally unnecessary and illogical kidnapping of a young policeman who is subsequently beaten, tortured and mutilated, for no apparent reason other than because it amuses one of the psychotic characters -- and, one can presume, Tarantino himself. The director stages the torture sequence like a comic musical number, complete with rock background music and choreography; casually topping it all off with the young officer's murder being the punchline of a joke. "That's entertainment!" seems to be Tarantino's pathetically cruel message.
This killing should inspire anger or, at the very least, pity for the innocent man. Instead, it elicited raves by film viewers who see the scene as stylish, or worse, cool. What does it say about our society that not only do we condone the glorification of senseless violence as entertainment, but applaud it as art? Why have we become so obsessed with the matter of "style" that we can't see that beneath Tarantino's superficial technique there is sadism?
RESERVOIR DOGS represents some sort of low point in the history of cinema. That it helped propel Tarantino to be considered one of the most influential directors of our time represents some sort of low point for society.
I remember watching this movie when it first came out and I did not know what to think. I mean, it was different. I could not remember seeing dialog like this before or a scene where a guy cuts another guy's ear off. It was unique in that regard. Mind you, it was different, but not really special. Moreover, some parts were very boring. Other parts were so "talky" and somewhat over the top, that they strained credibility. However, there were some funny lines as well. After having watched this again, some ten years later, I can say with all honesty, this film has not aged well. On second look, you see what looks like a first year film student project. It still has funny lines, but the story is paper thin. The actors tend to over act and the dialog is so full of Clint Eastwood wannabe one-liners, that you just roll your eyes. Michael Madsen cannot act, sorry. He is cool, but he cannot act. Tim Roth's attempt at an American accent makes him sound like Ralph Cramden from the HoneyMooners. I was just amazed at how bad this film really looked to a more mature person. The funny lines just don't cover that constant posturing of characters that have no real depth. The movie is cotton candy, it looks filling, but is far from it. Perhaps there will always be 14 year old boys around to give this "cool film" high marks, but I fear it will grow more ridiculous the older I get. However, Tarantino has this cult of personality going and I am sure the 10s will continue coming in for this film and a 10 might mean perfect in here, but that don't make it so.
Reservoir Dogs will always go down as one of the most violent yet brilliant pieces of work ever to be shown on the silver screen. Tarrentino's script is brilliant and what is even more amazing is that it is his first movie. The acting is top grade , all the actors seem to come up with the performance of lives. There were calls when the film was released for it to be banned by the lilly livered liberals and while this is bloody and the language is coarse, for it to be banned would have deprived us of a classic Hollywood movie that oozes class as well as blood! 10 out of 10
"There are many films with the goal 'to find your way home.' But there's only one film where a girl clicks together a pair of ruby slippers."
What that basically means is that the goal of many stories is essentially the same. The 'find your way home' example is used in films such as E.T., The Wizard of Oz, and Back To The Future, just to name a few. Only one of those has ruby slippers. Only one has a bicycle fly past the moon. Only one has a time-traveling Delorean.
The goal of 'criminals getting together to pull off the perfect heist' has been used is such films as The Killing, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, and City on Fire...just to name a few. Only one had an un-chronological order to the events. Until Reservoir Dogs. Only one had the criminals use color-coded names to keep their identities anonymous. Until Reservoir Dogs. Only one had an undercover cop infiltrate a gang of crooks and befriend another crook, only to get shot during the process of the robbery, until he confesses the truth to his new friend. Until Reservoir Dogs.
If you cannot see that this entire film is just a cut and paste job, then you have to be mentally impaired. And that is not an insult.
As far as originality goes, Tarantino hasn't got to that point yet. The point where he creates something on his own. This is just a second hand, second rate cut and paste job that is only mildly entertaining on first viewing. Upon seeing the film subsequent times, it only gets worse, and it's (very many) flaws only stand out to an even more obvious extent. This is a bad movie even for someone who has never directed anything before in his life.
The film starts with a discussion that might as well be about Jesus, pancake syrup, or the duties of the school crossing guard. None of these have anything to do with the story...much like the conversation we see before the opening credits roll. Which brings me to another discussion that takes place later on in the film...something about Lady E and a superglue incident. How is this any of our business? How does it advance the story? What do we get out of it besides a possible forced laugh of pity? It's not our business, it does not advance the story, and we get nothing out of that scene at all. You can literally remove it and be left with the same exact film, just without that scene. From the point before that scene started to after it finished, NOTHING HAS CHANGED AT ALL. It's complete filler. A total waste of time.
This movie would have been pretty good without extraneous scenes floating around, popping up at random, and taking entirely too long to finish. The best example of this is the whole Tim Roth segment. It interrupts the flow of the story and it simply not fun to watch. It's a huge dead moment right before the climax of the movie and it's very easy to simply lose interest at that point. When the finale does come, it's more of a "good, it's over" point rather than any kind of realization. Tarantino couldn't even create a good third act when he literally just copied the third act from City on Fire, and in some cases...shot for shot!
Resertvoir Dogs showed us nothing that we have not seen before...literally. The only positive thing about it is the cast, and that's even not so great. Most of the dialogue is just screaming and f-words being used like it's going out of style (and it has, thanks to films like this), and the "infamous" and "extreme" violence is about on par with The Lion King. So if you're thinking about watching this movie...just watch a good heist movie instead. I suggest:
The Killing The Asphalt Jungle The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
This movie just bored me no end. It was so painful to watch. The direction by Quentin Tarintino was terrible and the actors were very miscasted. I watched this with my friend and he also thought it was terrible. Nothing to admire, no action, just cussing. There's no point going to the message boards saying that you don't like it, because if you do people at the message board will use anything as an excuse for you to love it. "If you don't like it you don't get or you're an idiot. It was Quentin Tarintino's first film, go easy on him." Don't let tall this get in the way of your opinion, because this movie was stupid and pointless. Very predictable too. So I wont even say anymore.
I recommend it to anyone who loves Quentin Tarintino. By the way, I find Quentin Tarintino overrated, everything he does people think it's great, but it's not.
People sure love this movie. I have a friend who says that it's good because of the ear-slicing scene; most directors would cut away from such violence entirely, but here, we get to see the aftermath of a maiming. Well yeah, "Reservoir Dogs" does push the envelope - but towards what? Should we really praise a movie just because it wallows in violence more willingly than its predecessors?
My ex-girlfriend says this is a Greek tragedy. If that were true, the violence would be entirely justified, because it would help elevate "Reservior Dogs" to the level of an enlightening commentary on human nature. Alas, none of the characters is particularly noble; they start off as low-lifes and have nowhere to fall. So, that defense doesn't seem to work either.
In short, people have long tried to convince me that this is really a masterpiece. But even the best parts - such as the opening dialogue in the restaurant - seem artificial and engineered. Tarantino is ripping off older, better films and directors wholesale. There are shades of "The Taking of Pelham 123" here, and there's also a dash of "The Omen" at the end. Hitchcock, Frankenheimer, and even John Carpenter did this kind of stuff before, and they did it better. No doubt Tarantino was a breath of fresh air after the shallow era of 1980s action movies, but he was not much of an innovator, and I don't think that his super-cool style has stood even the shortest test of time; he has, after all, practically dropped off the face of the earth.
I watched Ringo Lam's city on fire and I was upset to see how Quentin stole everything from it to make Reservoir Dogs, Yes I like the way he combines different movies to make one but reservoir dogs was like an American Version of city on fire with white actors (not in a bad way).
I know it has been said before, but I recommend you to watch City on fire, things that didn't make sens or if you don't want to waste your time listening to those tough guys talking about what they did, City on fire will just show you what happened in a small box of time.
But anyway, I think Mr Blond and Pink made it look pretty though.
I can only imagine that those who like this film find appeal in the violence. It certainly isn't in the direction or story-telling. It's an incredibly badly-written and episodic piece, full of irrelevant scenes without which it would only be an hour long. What is relevant makes no use of the medium. Characters are not introduced through telling actions, but by introducing themselves in some kind of criminal job-interview. Tarantino's 'genius' seems to be a habit of having the lowest sort of people engaged in violent pursuits converse as casually as ladies at tea. It's a trick he uses and re-uses in all his films. Maybe Reservoir Dogs was meant to have deconstructionist elements a la From Dusk Till Dawn, but I think it's just what it appears to be: a really bad film.
I first saw this film when I was 15. I thought it was brilliant, really original and generally great. However, now (3 Years later) I realise it is nothing more than a pretentious piece of garbage.
Sure, it looks good, but when you really get down to it it's not doing anything. It doesn't have any real substance, it's not commenting on anything, it's just a totally throwaway product. Tarantino is talking loudly and saying nothing. And THAT narrative structure - it looks and feels original, but independent and foreign movies have been doing it, better, for years and years.
A truly trashy piece of postmodernism at it's worst.