(Fig 1 – movie poster)
“Reservoir Dogs” is a brilliant example of a film with a non-linear narrative. Vital information about the characters is being revealed in little doses which captures the attention of the audience and 30 minutes into the film, everyone is clutching for more.
What is fascinating about the film is perhaps the multiple layers it presents. A lot of the characters in it are playing roles within the movie itself. Many of them, if not all, are presenting themselves as tough and manly, but when everything goes wrong, they slowly loose the plot and turn on each other. As Roger Ebert states: “The idea is that the tough guys, except for Tierney and the deranged Madsen, are mostly bluffers. They are not good at handling themselves in desperate situations.” (Ebert, 1992)
The most technically masterful scene is perhaps when Tim Roth is telling his fictional story. It is really well presented and in a graceful and subtle manner. Cristopher Campbell talks about the scene: “It’s great the way Tarantino has the story acted out, the way he has Roth fantastically reciting some of the story within the acted out sequence, and the way he gives the cops their own story to tell within Orange’s story.” (Campbell, 2012) (fig. 2)
(fig. 2 – movie still)
The film is, however, shocking in way too many occasions. Even if that is the whole point of it, a lot of the plot is hidden within a fog of swear words. Something that is not essential for the narrative of the film. Yes, it is about “tough” guys, but that fact is clear from the very start, and no viewer needs to be constantly reminded of how low-life criminals communicate between each other.
The film is technically incredible with its camera movements and implied action which can really turn your stomach upside down. It also gives, perhaps, the most realistic reaction of someone shot in the stomach, not heroically whispering his or hers last words but actually screaming and grasping for life. (fig. 3) Almar Haflidason talks about the film: “The movie has earned itself a reputation as a violent picture and provided a convenient platform for some hysterical media reaction. As is often the case, viewing reveals a different truth. And the classic and sadly underused technique of implied action suggests a more powerful horror than you can actually see.” (Haflidason, 2015)
(fig. 3 – movie still)
In conclusion, as Anne Billson states: “Reservoir Dogs reminds you of the best cinema of that decade – perhaps the Last Great Decade of Cinema – when film could still be raw, exciting and deliciously different.” (Billson, 2014)
Fig 1 - Static.guim.co.uk, (2015). [online] Available at: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2010/4/1/1270117738636/Reservoir-Dogs-004.jpg [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].
Fig. 2 - Application.denofgeek.com, (2015). [online] Available at: http://application.denofgeek.com/pics/film/tarantino/04.jpg [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].
Fig 3 - 4.bp.blogspot.com, (2015). [online] Available at: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-kNnJeWxpfoY/U5TB1oTYhWI/AAAAAAAAuiE/hSzujbSIwvE/s1600/tumblr_m7gjd6PPWy1qzpdnho1_r1_1280.png [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].
Billson, A. (2014). Reservoir Dogs, review: 'raw and exciting'. [online] Telegraph.co.uk. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/11311308/Reservoir-Dogs-review-raw-and-exciting.html [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].
Campbell, C. (2012). 8 Best Scenes From Reservoir Dogs. [online] Film School Rejects. Available at: http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/8-scenes-we-love-from-reservoir-dogs-ccamp.php [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].
Ebert, R. (1992). Reservoir Dogs Movie Review & Film Summary (1992) | Roger Ebert. [online] Rogerebert.com. Available at: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/reservoir-dogs-1992 [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].
Haflidason, A. (2015). BBC - Films - review - Reservoir Dogs. [online] Bbc.co.uk. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2000/11/21/reservoir_dogs_1992_review.shtml [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].