Reservoir Dogs


Viewed – 07 Mar 2009  Blu-ray

Limited Collector’s Edition

You have to admit, thats a killer title.  There’s plenty of urban legends about how it came about, but for now lets just basque in what this film did for cinema in the early nineties – turning a tired crime genre on its head and introduced us to snappy dialogue, cool black suited gangsters and a new indie wonder kid by the name of Quentin Tarantino, who even today still makes a big impact with every new film he comes up with, regardless if like me you feel he hasn’t hit gold since Pulp Fiction, this film’s grand follow up, that cemented him as a real talent.

Four crooks sit in a coffee shop discussing everything from the real meaning of Like A Virgin to why Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi) wont tip waitresses.  This plays out minutes before a diamond heist that we never see and goes terribly wrong, and the surviving crooks (Mr White – Harvey Keitel, a bloody and wounded Mr Orange – Tim Roth, Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi) and the psychotic Mr Blonde – Michael Madsen) all try and figure out what went wrong.  A very simple premise is given much credence by a narrative that jumps all over the place very much like Pulp did but in a slightly more explained way (mostly in flashbacks as the protagonists discuss events), and with most of the film set in an abandoned warehouse – this could so easily have been boring – but in Tarantino’s hands its riveting.  Mostly because the cast is brilliantly put together.  Roth over-acts, granted but makes the opening ten minutes kick ass.  Then of course we have Madsen in a scene that has become something of cinematic legend (the ear cutting played out perversely to Steeler’s Wheel’s ‘Stuck In The Middle’).

For a debut film from a new director, this is exceptional work, and as a crime movie in its own right, it is clever and different enough to warrant repeated viewings.  Some may dislike the simplicity, but I say look beyond what you have been accustomed to and enjoy it for what it is, one of the most ballsy crime movies ever made.

This collector’s edition, housed wonderfully in a mock up petrol can, has a very nice (but not astonishing) picture and the sound in both DTS Master Audio and Dolby Digital EX has plenty of wallop, especially when the excellent soundtrack kicks in.  Most impressive though is the wealth of extras, including a round-the-table commentary, behind the scenes footage, interviews, character profiles of the Reservoir Dogs, a pop-up trivia track and plenty more.  A brilliant package for fans and newcomers alike.

Verdict:  4 /5

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3 thoughts on “Reservoir Dogs

  1. Pingback: The 100 Greatest Movie Villains

  2. Good analysis; I enjoyed this but only give it 3 stars. Apart from the brilliant dialogue sprinkled throughout, it lacks the humanity that made Pulp Fiction so riveting (more civilians, anyone?). But certainly a great debut, it foreshadows Tarentino’s later success.

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    • I do agree with much of that but when you take the movie on its own merits, its easy to dismiss a few short comings like character depth considering everything else that is achieved for a debut. It will always be remembered as a crime movie classic regardless.

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