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Reservoir Dogs

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Released: 23rd October 1993

Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen

Certificate: 18

Reviewed By: Luke Walkley

Tarantino. The name alone sums up the film from 1992. Reservoir Dogs takes place in a disused suburban warehouse in the aftermath of a jewellery heist gone wrong- The Warehouse seemingly representing what I imagine the inside of Tarantino’s mind to look like- Numerous personalities, conflicts, ideas and clever dialogue floating around.

I mean this in the best possible way, Tarantino’s unique perception of filmmaking has made him loved by many and perhaps not fully understood by all. Everything he creates conjures fascinating end results, even though it may not always be to everyone’s taste.

Enough about the man, seeing as this is a film review I should probably mention it. A seemingly perfect team of criminals begin to regroup at the warehouse after the attempted robbery. With several of the crew killed or badly injured, the remaining attempt to find out what happened. We follow the action as each of the men arrive and discuss the probability of a ‘rat’ among the team of strangers.

With an interesting cast and director, Reservoir Dogs kicked up a bit of a fuss, however when stories of the supposed violence were leaked several countries moved to ban its exhibition and thus caused it a smaller release than it deserved, none the less Reservoir Dogs has become one of the most well known and critically acclaimed pieces of filmmaking around.

The films characters, bar Nice Guy Eddie(Chris Penn) and Joe(Lawrence Tierney), are known only by their colourful codenames- Mr White(Harvey Keitel) and a badly injured Mr Orange(Tim Roth) are the first to arrive at the warehouse, followed shortly by Mr Pink(Steve Buscemi) cue iconic scene/picture…  Michael Madsen’s arrival as the erratic Mr Blonde carries with it ‘Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy? Or are you going to bite?’ perhaps the movies most memorable line.

Reservoir Dogs is a film that doesn’t really fall into a category, sure the plot follows the heist aftermath, but it splits off in so many directions. From one minute to the next the films atmosphere changes, ranging from a serious discussion about who may have been a police informer, to Mr Blondes shoe shuffling, ear cutting tendencies to the music of Stealer’s Wheels. Reservoir Dogs is such an unusual film it’s not hard to see why people don’t really understand it.

The reputation it somehow built about its violence somewhat baffles me, sure there is the aforementioned ear cutting scene, but it cuts away before anything really graphic is shown. There are far worse films from the same period that never got the bad publicity as Reservoir Dogs, but as the saying goes ‘any publicity is good publicity’ and Dogs earnt its cult status and eventually became revered for its clever dialogue and uniqueness.

The cast bond perfectly, the back and forth between every member is brilliant, bouncing the dialogue off each other allows the the film to flow beautifully. This chemistry was key, especially in a film that in no way relies on special effects, if the cast consisted of substandard actors then Reservoir Dogs would probably have been long forgotten.

Reservoir Dogs is one of my personal favourites and truth be told, I would have always found it hard to be critical- Hopefully, you can sit down and watch this film in the near future and agree that it deserves to be remembered for its uniqueness- a true testament to what can be done with good scripting and a well chosen cast. Tarantino’s later instalments-Inglorious Basterds and the Kill Bill movies, are both brilliant in their own ways, but this film set Tarantino up for Pulp Fiction.

Reservoir Dogs deserves to be seen by as many people as possible, whilst they mot not all love it, it certainly won’t be forgotten for a long time after.  Reservoir Dogs bite certainly matches its bark.

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