A cult and Tarantino classic.
After a jewellery heist turns into a blood bath, the remaining members of the gang regroup and suspect that one of them is a police informant. As more members of the gang show up, the more tension builds, as they argue about what happened and who is the snitch.
Tarantino’s breakthrough film is certainly a special one. Set in primarily one location, the rendezvous old warehouse, and with a small cast of around seven/eight, he’s managed to create a tense and exciting heist film about suspicion, betrayal and action, despite the fact we never see the actual heist.
Known only by their code names to each other, Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) and Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) try to discover what happened to the others, get in contact with their boss, and uncover the rat. With such stranger stuck in such a desperate situation, in an enclosed space, tension and anger builds quickly as they begin to turn on each other. These elements are used and depicted very well by Tarantino and the cast, as we too feel dragged into the mystery as to who ratted them out.
Each character gains our suspicion as we analyse them as we learn more about them. Tarantino carefully introduces us to how they got into the job and any other relevant information only when it’s necessary, unveiling a little more about the characters at a time. This process allows our suspicions to shift as we are dragged into the blaming and finger-pointing the characters are doing.
The action sequences are very strong, they’re not huge blockbuster action pieces which gives it a more realistic and grittier feel. In hand with this, the soundtrack is fantastic and is used mainly to heighten action or develop character, both done very well.
My main issue with Reservoir Dogs is it’s stark resemblance to a City on Fire (1987), a Chinese film about a police officer who infiltrates a gang of jewellery thieves. Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs is executed much better than the original, and some will say that it pays “homage” to it rather than simply copying. However, the similarities are far too obvious for me, which ultimately took a little away from Reservoir Dogs.
Despite being released over twenty years ago now, Reservoir Dogs still stands well as one of cinema’s strongest films, particularly for a breakthrough movie for such an infamous director. It’s a great action heist film about suspense and suspicion, and overall a great watch.