Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, Chris Penn
|Reservior Dogs (1992; Miramax Pictures)|
The heist film is a classic genre with a long proud tradition of quality films. Going all the way back to the silent era, the crime caper has been seminal in the action/thriller genres. In 1992, Quentin Tarantino brought us Reservoir Dogs, a heist movie where the heist is only part of the story. The core of the movie involves the interactions between a group of thieves hired to work a job for a local boss. In an empty warehouse, the tough crew awaits their chance to meet up with their contractor, and finally split to leave this botch-job behind them, but nothing is that simple. The entire job is a mess from the start, and while all of the hired men claim to be professionals, these guys do not work well together for the most part. It all culminates in a series of disasters, betrayals and surprises that just make this a fun sit.
The quality of this film comes down to a few key points. First off, you have Tarantino’s trademark fast, witty banter and it is top-notch here. The often funny dialogue and perfectly distinct personalities of the characters makes this film flow smoothly. For a flick that takes place almost entirely in a mostly-empty warehouse with only a few interactions at a time, Dogs really never feels slow or flat. It comes down to the dialogue and execution. Second is the way violence is used in the movie. While all of Tarantino's films are violent, unlike Kill Bill, which revels in it's 70's exploitation ways, Reservior Dogs' bloodier scenes are disturbing and really nail home the personalities of the characters involved.
There are a few notably memorable scenes, too, arguably the most famous of which involves Madsen, duct tape, a straight razor and Stealer’s Wheel. If you know the scene you know this movie. If you haven’t seen this famous movie moment, do not just go watch the one scene. Instead, seek out Reservior Dogs in full and watch it through. It isn’t a long movie, but it is a fun quotable, delightfully-exploitative and gritty picture full of everything Tarantino does best, all presented with a snappy screenplay and a spot-on cast of great actors in their prime.