Sunday, 26 April 2015

Film Review - Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Fig.1 Reservoir Dogs (1992) Movie Poster

Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992) is a thrilling film debut for one of today's greatest directors.  David Nusair refers to it being Tarantino's first film by saying that it is "one of the most impressive debut features in cinematic history." - (Nusair, 2014). The dialogue driven story is something we are now accustomed to from Tarantino and gives us a glimpse of what he is capable of. Through dramatic shots and an iconic soundtrack, Reservoir Dogs is a film that you will not forget in a hurry. 

Fig.2 Mr. Pink (Left) and Mr. White (Right)

In a similar sense to Alfred Hitchcock's Rope (1948), the film plays out in one setting, for the most part. The dirty and gloomy interior matches the tone of the film incredibly. It provides the perfect backdrop to some of Tarantino's finest moments in his brilliant career. It is fascinating to see how the characters develop within the walls of the warehouse. After the opening scene that shows the characters' strong, yet sometimes mysterious, connections with each other, we see them fall apart after their planned robbery goes horribly wrong. Tarantino uses a series of flashbacks that show us the, what you could say, "origin" of the character's inclusion into the heist. As arguments and disagreements progress, the film becomes even more tense as we do not know the consequences of the characters' actions. Tarantino's clever use of camera angles add to the suspense magnificently. 

Fig.3 Mr. Blonde (Played by Michael Madsen)

What is perhaps the film's best, yet most controversial, scene is when Mr. Blonde (Played by Michael Madsen) is torturing a police man. Tarantino places the camera behind the police man, which therefore makes us watch Mr. Blonde walk around the room, while planning what he is going to do. This, therefore, makes for a very tense scene as it gives us the police man's perspective, which makes us aware of horrified he must be. It is, however, when Mr. Blonde cuts the police man's ear off, when we get a different camera angle and are in fact shown a section of the wall, leaving us to hear the act take place. This is a very horrific sequence, but Tarantino still manages to produce one of Hollywood's most well known scenes. Gary Thompson describes this scene in his review: "While a radio plays a bad song from an FM ''Sounds of the '70s" retrospective (a running joke here), Mr. Blonde begins dancing, singing and brandishing his implements of torture - a razor, a can of gasoline, a lighter. He then begins to mutilate his victim." - (Thompson,1992). As Thompson correctly identifies, the soundtrack is very important in this scene. "The Sounds of the 70s" play out frequently throughout the film, but the upbeat music being played alongside Mr. Blonde's comical dance style gives the scene a weird feel that makes you not take it too seriously. That is something that is very strange due to the seriousness of Mr. Blonde's actions.

Fig.4 Mr. Blonde, Mr. White & Mr. Pink

Reservoir Dogs lays the foundations for all of Tarantino's great films. The controversial and non-linear storyline is a technique that Tarantino is known for, but due to the relationships between the characters it is something we can relate to, to some extent. Jeff Dawson says in his review that "Reservoir Dogs has all the hallmarks of a modern classic." -(Dawson, 2006)

Illustration List:
Fig.1 Reservoir Dogs (1992) Movie Poster - - (Accessed 26/04/2015)

Fig.2 Mr. Pink (Left) and Mr. White (Right) - - (Accessed 26/04/2015)

Fig.3 Mr. Blonde (Played by Michael Madsen) - (Accessed 26/04/2015)

Fig.4 Mr. Blonde, Mr. White & Mr. Pink - - (Accessed 26/04/2015) 


Dawson, Jeff (2006) - Reservoir Dogs - - (Accessed 26/04/2015) 

Nusair, David (2014) - The Films of Quentin Tarantino - - (Accessed 26/04/2015) 

Thompson, Gary (1992) - Going For The Jugular 'Reservoir Dogs' A Cut Above The Usual Actioner
  - - (Accessed 26/04/2015) 

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