Thursday, 17 February 2011

Reservoir Dogs Review

After a jewellery heist goes wrong the surviving criminals lie in wait at the warehouse rendezvous. However as they wait they suspect that one of the criminals is a police informant which causes them to fight between themselves.

The film is very cleverly shot and it connects the audience within its extreme use of dialogue. The most iconic scene from the film has to be the torture scene with Mr Blonde and the Police officer. The scene is terrifically paced, building up more and more tension as Mr Blonde shuffles around the warehouse just before he cuts off the officer’s ear. Much like the cop the audience is fixed upon the torture scene, experiencing his agony and fear during the torture and we feel trapped as we can’t look away. Just as Mr Blonde moves in to cut the cop’s ear off Tarantino cuts away to a ‘Mind your Head’ sign which is brilliant as the audience knows it has happened but believe they have seen it because of the prior menace of Mr Blonde’s actions and the camera being fixated on the torture. Jardine writes about his experience of this scene everyone, absolutely everyone I ever talk to about this movie SWEARS they saw a man’s ear get severed at this moment. But trust me; it doesn’t happen (on screen, anyways.)’ (Jardine, 2004)

In reference to the tension of the film it could be argued that even through the reveal of the informant halfway through this just adds to the tension of the film. The narrative structure is complicated and non-linear being a trademark of Tarantino and in exploring the main characters a chapter style is brought in. The tension that is experienced comes from the relationship of Mr Orange and Mr White and whether Mr Orange’s true identity will be made known to him. Canby writes about the narrative structure and its effects ‘"Reservoir Dogs" is immensely complicated in its structure, which for the most part works with breathtaking effect. Mr. Tarantino uses chapter headings ("Mr. Blonde," "Mr. Orange," etc.) to introduce the flashbacks, which burden the film with literary affectations it doesn't need. Yet the flashbacks themselves never have the effect of interrupting the flow of the action. Mr. Tarantino not only can write superb dialogue, but he also has a firm grasp of narrative construction. The audience learns the identity of the squealer about mid-way through, but the effect is to increase tension rather than diminish it.(Canby, 1992)

Another trademark of Tarantino is his use of dialogue and Reservoir Dogs is not scarce in its use of it. Each character is given their own personality and none of them seem to fill a stereotype, Tarantino’s choice of actors is brilliant and they all come together well fleshing out the dialogue and providing laughs. Mr White and Mr Orange’s relationship is the most explored throughout the film which provides the climax for the ending, they break the rules in revealing first names and during Mr Orange’s chapter it’s hard not to empathise with Mr White at the end as he misplaces his trust and neglects his previous friendship. Berardinelli writes about the characters The cast, which includes Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen, is first-rate, and the parts the actors have to play are fully fleshed out. Tarantino invests each member of his group with a unique and multi-faceted personality. Not content with stereotypes, the writer/director digs deeper, bringing out the humanity in even someone as viciously sadistic and reprehensible as Mr. Blonde.’ (Berardinelli, 2000)


Dan Jardine, Reservoir Dogs review, 9th March 2004, accessed on 17/2/2011

Vincent Canby, Reservoir Dogs Review, 23rd October 1992, Tomatoes accessed on 17/2/2011

Jame Berardinelli, Reservoir Dogs Review, 1st January 2000, accessed on 17/2/2011


Movie Poster - accessed on 17/2/2011

That torture scene - accessed on 17/2/2011

The commode scene - accessed on 17/2/2011

Mr Orange and Mr White - accessed on 17/2/2011

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