Cotton Reviews Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Reservoir-Dogs_v2.pngIt was interesting going back and watching Reservoir Dogs again. It was Quentin Tarantino’s first Hollywood film and going to back to his roots made for a good watch. I became a fan of Tarantino’s work well after this film from 1992 was released and it had been well over ten years since I watched it the one and only other time I viewed it.

The film stars Harvey Keitel as Mr. White, Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde, the awesome Steve Buscemi as Mr. Pink, and Tim Roth as Mr. Orange. Their names were given to them by their ring leader so as to hide each other’s identities. They all are involved in a diamond heist gone wrong where Orange is gut shot and bleeding to death. White takes Orange to an abandoned warehouse where the crew was to meet after the heist. As Pink and Blonde make their way to the warehouse, the crew begins to suspect that there was a rat in their crew who tipped off the police given how fast they arrived on the scene.

What follows is a story told in a non-linear, unconventional manner. We learn about the four main players through flashbacks up to the point where Orange gets shot in the belly. We get a flashback of each character, and then back to the warehouse, then another flashback, and so forth. The story being told in this manner really serves the film well. We don’t know exactly who the rat is until about half way through and in the mean time each one is accusing the other.

There are more than enough shocking moments of gratuitous violence that Tarantino is known for, as well as the sharp dialogue, and laugh out loud moments. It is a gripping story filled with tension that all ends in a Mexican standoff that would make any John Woo fan (me) happy. In fact, there are a lot of themes common in Woo’s “heroic bloodshed” style of gangster films present throughout. And, the black and white suits with white ties and black shades is taken straight from Woo’s A Better Tomorrow 2.

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I know a lot of people who will say that Reservoir Dogs is Tarantino’s best film. Myself, I am partial to Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Basterds. But, this remains a top notch debut from a director and screenwriter who would become one of the most influential directors of his era. It is always fun and exciting to go back to guys like Tarantino’s roots and watch how their humble beginnings turned them into Hollywood kings.

Reservoir Dogs gets an B+

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