Saturday, 19 February 2011


FIG.1: Film Poster

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Producer: Laurence Brender
Year: 1992
Cast: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen

Directed by the ultimate Quentin Tarantino, which was a great achievement before his great success Pulp Fiction (1994), Reservoir Dogs is an American crime film depicting events before and after a diamond heist which resulted in a an extraordinary bloody aftermath. The surviving men turn the tables on each other, suspecting there to be an undercover police officer within them. The film features great acting, violent crime, pop culture references, profanity and portrays a “desired masculinity”. Tarantino has an amazing way of shooting action in his gun-shooting and torture scenes. Named after a colour to protect their identity, each character has its own personality which makes the audience feel closer them and simultaneously be appalled by their hideous actions: an ambiguous relationship between viewer and performer. With its well-constructed flashback sequences which generate an intriguing suspense Reservoir Dogs could be regarded as an exercise in style where Tarantino broke the rules of a clear cut story and turned to a non-linear storyline.

FIG.2: The "Dogs".
However, this disjointed narrative with events showed out of chronological order has its origins back to the ancient times and was called ‘in media res’  which in latin means: in the middle of things. It is where the story doesn’t start from the beginning but usually at some crucial point in the action in the middle. The technique of the extension of previous events that will be developed in later actions with the narrative moving straight forward followed by flashbacks is a confusing but somehow engrossing technique. The audience becomes aware of the confusion of what went wrong with this robbery which is also implied with the 'out of order', confusing editing. Tarantino also uses clever camera movements such as the circular one in the opening discussion-dinner scene ,where it feels as if the viewer is a stalker among the character The scene is cut straight after to an action scene where Mr Orange is injured, bleeding endlessly in the back seat of a car holding Mr White's hand for support. Before that action scene the characters stayed static doing nothing which left the camera play an important role and keep the audience's attention. It is vital to make the audience gripped at the opening sequence of a movie and Tarantino sucessfully accomplishes it. The camera also gives an insight of what each character is. For example we are giving an indication that Harvey Keitel ( Mr White) has autority and might be the group leader of the team through the camera's focus on him whenever he talks.   There is also a scene where while Mr White and Mr Pink are having a discussion Mr White's face is only visible from his reflection on the mirror, a clever way to entail the "mystery" or even the importance behind the character."From the opening moments of "Reservoir Dogs" you sense that you are watching a different kind of crime drama. The style and dialog of this picture bestows a level of intelligence upon it's characters that defies the reality of their chosen profession." (mrmoustache0420.2002)
FIG.3: Mr Pink confronting Mr.White holdings guns at
Tartantino was the one that brought back violence in films, and violence as something satisfying like in Mr Blonde's way of torture towards a police officer. He put on relaxing music, danced along to "Stuck in The Middle with You" and then with the use of a razor sliced off his ear (FIG.4). He then doused him in gasoline and as he was about to light it up he got shot by the injured Mr Orange who then reveals that he's the informant. Tarantino was not afraid to depict the cruel reality in that way and as Wood argued : The violence these characters carry out has been the subject of heavy debate and criticism. Some complain it’s mindless violence, inserted only to excite adolescent boys. Others will say it’s the right touch for this type of gritty, unrelenting film." (Wood.2010)

FIG.4: The unnerving ear-cutting scene
In conclusion, Reservoir Dogs is a film which is deserved to be watches more than once as the editing and the way Tarantino chose to depict his story will amaze you everytime. It is capturing, full of suspense and a real landmark of gangster films. "If Tarantino didn't exist, Hollywood would have invented him by now. A filmmaker defined by his on-screen influences rather than any surging internal impulse, he's an artist fed by the cultural crackle, tuned into and turned on by the busy flash and flicker of what's in and what's on." (Total Film.2004)

Wood, Laura(2010) Film Review At: (accessed on 19/2/2011)
mrmoustache0420 (2002) Film Review At: (accessed on 19/2/2011) 
Total Film(2004) Film Review At: (accessed on 19/2/2011)

List of Illustrations
FIG.2: Film Still At: (accessed on 19/2/2011)
FIG.3: Film Still At: (accessed on 19/2/2011)
FIG.4: Film Still At: (accessed on 19/2/2011)

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