Thursday, 7 August 2014

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

There are three reasons not to see this film:

  1. a graphic torture scene
  2. dialogue that is literally drenched in profanity, as well as racist, sexist and homophobic slurs
  3. perhaps unsurprisingly in light of number 2, the characters are almost all reprehensible people

If that doesn't put you off, however, you're in for a pretty good film.  For one thing, the cast is excellent: not a surprise when you feature major roles for Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth and Steve Buscemi; each of whom is reliably capable and entertaining.  The real eye-opened though is Michael Madsen.  It's hard to reconcile the menacing sociopath he presents here with the fumbling, barely coherent performance he offers in Bloodrayne.

The soundtrack is another strength of the film: so many great tracks, and really well used.  You'll never look at "Stuck in the Middle with You" the same way again (no, it's not a sex thing.  Get your minds out of the gutter!).

The other thing that garnered a lot of attention for this tale of a jewelry store heist gone wrong is the script.  Then novice film-maker Quentin Tarantino adopts a non-linear approach to the tale, and omits entirely the actual heist itself.  We only hear, second hand, how things initially went wrong.  It's a bold choice that could have gone horribly wrong, but it works well here.

The script also attracted attention for its dialogue.  It's profane stuff, but it's sometimes very well put together.  Not all of it works - the opening discussion of "Like A Virgin" kinda feels juvenile these days, for instance.  But stuff like Roth's 'commode story' scene?  Really well put together, both in terms of what's being said and how it's being structured.

Not a nice film by any measure, but a good one.

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