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Reservoir Dogs

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Reservoir Dogs

Starring: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth
Director: Duentin Tarantino
Rated: R
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: October 1992
Genres: Action, Drama, Suspense


*Also starring: Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Randi Brooks, Kirk Baltz, Eddie Bunker, Quentin Tarantino



Review by Andrew Hicks
3 stars out of 4

On the basis of this film alone, I never would have predicted that, in two years, Quentin Tarantino would become the country's biggest hotshot director. RESERVOIR DOGS has hints of the Tarantino brilliance that emerged in PULP FICTION, but is a much less substantive, more conventional crime story than the big PF. Here's what the two movies do have in common...

--Scenes of intelligent, amusing dialogue with no relevance to the plot
--A story that jumps back and forth in time rather than going in a logical, chronological sequence
--Graphic yet necessary violence
--An engaging crime story
--Dialogue liberally spiced with swear words and racial/gender slurs
--Three of the same actors (Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth and Steve Buscemi)
--A Mexican standoff ending, although this one is considerably less optimistic than PF

RESERVOIR DOGS is an entire hour shorter than PULP FICTION because it's only got one story to tell rather than three. Crime lord Joe Cabot (veteran actor Lawrence Tierney) has assembled five criminals who have never even met each other to pull a diamond store heist. The five are instructed not to reveal their real names or personal details or anything the cops could use if one of them was captured and interrogated. Instead, they are all given code names off the color chart -- Mr. White (Keitel), Mr. Pink (Buscemi), Mr. Orange (Roth), Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr. Brown (Tarantino) and Mr. Peach (Tarantino's chin).

Most of the movie's running time is spent with Mr. White and Pink waiting at a warehouse for the others to arrive. Mr. Orange, meanwhile, is on the floor, dying from a gunshot wound. The police had arrived at the scene of the crime way too soon, leading White to believe one of the five was an informant. The story's background unfolds through a series of flashbacks, of the crime itself and the meetings between Joe and the criminals prior to the crime. Eventually, Blonde arrives with a police officer hostage, and what follows is a truly brutal, uncomfortable torture scene. Let's just say Picasso would be inspired by what Blonde does to the cop's ear.

A lot of the time, RESERVOIR DOGS seems like your typical gangster heist-gone-wrong movie, but there are a few sequences that are uniquely Tarantino. The opening scene in the coffee shop starts the movie off on a high note the rest of it doesn't live up to, as the criminals plus Joe have a conversation on, among other things, tipping philosophies and their interpretations of Madonna's "Like a Virgin." Another scene involves Roth's lengthy manufactured story about running into a group of cops and a police dog in a bus station bathroom while carrying a giant bag of marijuana. Neither of these have much plot relevance but are given ample time to develop, like the Captain Koons gold watch speech in PULP FICTION, only here these sequences are more enjoyable than the rest of the movie. RESERVOIR DOGS is good but it's no PULP FICTION.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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