Each week, one of the Filmoria team will be taking a skeleton out of their closet in the form of a movie widely regarded as a classic and finally watching it for the first time. This week, Ria Amber Tesia tackles a classic director in Quentin Tarantino and an all-time classic in Reservoir Dogs…
Whenever Reservoir Dogs was brought up, discussed, or alluded to, I’d never admit to not watching it. As years went on, that closet denial turned into blissful ignorance, because not being a huge Tarantino fan, the film’s existence didn’t affect me in any way.
Reservoir Dogs celebrated its 25th anniversary with a screening at last month’s Sundance Film Festival. 25 years. That’s a mighty long time. I admit to feeling a prickle of intrigue as I wondered what the heck was so good about the film that has made it stand the test of time. Once my interest was piqued, I took the plunge and decided to watch the movie. Now, the following words may strike a chill in the heart of Tarantino-philes, but I found the film to be a touch faffy and littered with rambling dialogue that seemed to last for hours (how long was that opening scene?).
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, it’s a crime thriller about one hell of a botched robbery. It throws up an inconvenient truth that one of the gang members is actually a police informer. As the audience tries to figure out this unconventional “whodunnit”, we’re taken on a sometimes voyeuristic, often masochistic journey as the end draws near for the motley crew.
Tarantino is famed for his edgy, ground-breaking, violent offerings, and Reservoir Dogs is no different. I found it to be grotesquely violent. The torture scene where psychotic Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen) got an earful from that poor cop, was difficult to watch. I’m not the only one who was affected by this graphic violence. Apparently, the stomach-churning scene caused multiple people to walk out during its first showing and the UK video release was delayed by three years until 1995.
I liked the characters, but I didn’t love them. They did however stay with me a few days after watching the film, which bears the hallmark of a good writer. And that’s my problem with this film. It’s a simple premise, plot decent, well written and it just about works, but the dialogue, oh the dialogue is bloody abysmal and a massive let-down.
I cannot fault the acting. The stellar line-up including Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, and the sublime Chris Penn made this film a little easier to watch. The non-linear plot added to the intrigue, but sometimes felt to be a little jarring. I can’t think of any highlights. The soundtrack was decent, but then again so is George Formby strumming away on his little ukulele.
The ending was obscure. I hate to be spoon-fed, but come on, WHAT HAPPENED? Who was shot? Did Mr White (Harvey Keitel) unleash his anger on the man lying dying in his arms?
If you have an overactive imagination, it’s not a film you want to watch whilst eating hot-dogs as I was (the splatter of ketchup and meaty bits are reminiscent of that poor cop’s ear).
My life isn’t any better after watching Reservoir Dogs. Strictly for hardcore fans of Tarantino only.