Reservoir Dogs (1992)



This film is Quentin Tarantino’s first and widely considered his second best. Most people consider his best film to be Pulp Fiction, but I disagree. I actually liked Reservoir Dogs better. The film is a crime thriller about a diamond heist that goes bad. The film never actually shows the events of the diamond heist, just the events before and after the heist. It makes the film different as you must listen to the characters to understand information about the heist. The film starts with eight men at a table eating breakfast. Six of them are going to perform the heist and each have an alias. The other two are mob boss Joe Cabot and his son Eddie. They eat breakfast and walk to their cars. The film then jumps forward to after the heist. The film then shows the characters’ interactions in a warehouse and goes back in time to show the events the characters faced before the heist and the events that took place immediately after as they tried to make it to the warehouse. The film is classic Quentin Tarantino, and showed the world what he could do. Tarantino’s first film uses the concept of leaping from different segments in time and then stitching things together, and that same concept continued in almost all his films.

The Good

Quentin Tarantino. The man has talent… and Rotten Tomatoes agrees. Reservoir Dogs is an independent film and it set the stage for future independent films. Without Reservoir Dogs you probably never get Pulp Fiction. I also love the soundtrack. It is all rock music from the 1970s and it works. There is a great scene in which Mr. Blonde dances to “Stuck in the Middle with You” as he tortures a cop. I felt for the cop, but I enjoyed the madness of Mr. Blonde. He’s a psychopath! And one thing that Tarantino always has is a great cast ensemble. This one stars Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, and Chris Penn. Tarantino even carved out a role for himself as Mr. Brown. There is also some dialogue gold. My favorite line was: “You shoot me in a dream, you better wake up and apologize.” Finally, in Tarantino style, the film is bloody.

The Bad

I don’t entirely blame Tarantino for the bad about the film. It was a small independent film from a director who was being tested for the first time. He barely had any money to work with. It would have been great to see the heist and what happened to Mr. Blue and maybe some more background on the characters. That probably would have been great. Quentin Tarantino has even said he wished he had more money to work with. However, he did get a lot of bang for his buck. Looking at the cast alone shows that. The violence may have been a little over the top too. I know I listed that in the good section too, but it truly depends on your perspective.

Final Notes

I don’t think anyone can deny the overall importance of Reservoir Dogs on the film industry. Yes, Pulp Fiction is considered “the” defining independent film, but without Reservoir Dogs and its success, we probably never get it. It is a really good film hurt by a small budget. I think that with some more money it could have excelled beyond Pulp Fiction. I definitely felt entertained all the way through this one, whereas I didn’t with Pulp Fiction. I would like to add that a Reservoir Dogs video game was released in 2006. The game tried to fill in some of the gaps. I watched some of the gameplay and the game garbage. I wouldn’t go anywhere near the game and I would prefer that they just not fill in the gaps at this point. Some films are left best when they are not whole. While I would like to see some gaps filled, in the end, maybe what it shows is good enough.

3 thoughts on “Reservoir Dogs (1992)”

  1. I think this happens a lot with authors and musical artists. They have this work that they are famous for but true fans, or those who have dared go past the surface, find that that’s not always their best work. I remember when the band Bastille became popular for their song “Pompeii”. I found that there were way better songs on the album, but everyone just worshiped what other people thought was the best. Still of course it was a good song, as Pulp Fiction is a good movie. I think it is an interesting concept to leave what seems like the climax out of the film completely, but I don’t necessarily think it’s bad. Of course, it leaves some unanswered questions, but maybe that makes it even better.

  2. I have not seen this movie, but I love when movies jump from one time period to the next, giving the audience clues to what will happen, while keeping you guessing at the same time. Also, I can imagine the scene where “Stuck in the middle with you” is playing- a cool, calm song- juxtaposed with the violence of Mr. Blonde killing someone. I find it really interesting when directors choose to do this.

  3. I agree with you that Reservoir Dogs is a better film than Pulp Fiction, mainly because there is a certain charm to the low budgetness of the movie. A funny story, when I was growing up my parents would sometimes watch Bollywood movies, and Bollywood has a terrible habit of directly ripping off American movies down to the frame. So I actually watched the Bollywood version of Reservoir Dogs before the actual one when I was a little kid. Never the less, the actual version was leaps and bounds better for obvious reasons.

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