As Mr White (Harvey Keitel), Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr Orange (Tim Roth), Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr Brown (Quentin Tarantino), Mr Blue (Eddie Bunker), Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn) and Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) sit around drinking coffee in a diner, they are oblivious to the chaos that is about to unfold. They’re about to rob a jewellery store of its diamonds and head off into the sunset with millions. Or at least that’s what they all think, anyway. A couple hours later, the four surviving gangsters are lying low in an empty warehouse after a police ambush with only one explanation for their failure – betrayal – and two questions – where did it all go wrong, and who was behind it?
Going right back to where it all started, Quentin Tarantino rocked the film world with his wonderful yet controversial debut film, Reservoir Dogs. The film loudly announced Tarantino as a talent to be reckoned with for very good reason, and at this moment in time,mother iconic colour-coded gangsters are a key feature of my favourite Tarantino film.
This film is jam-packed with stunning performances, infamous characters and actors that very quickly became familiar faces in Tarantino’s filmography. Harvey Keitel was tremendous as Mr White. He was as cool as ice the whole time and very entertaining to watch. Steve Buscemi played Mr Pink; the whiny little girl of the group who just got on everyone else’s wig. He was funny as he tried constantly to big himself up to the other cons on the job, but each time he just managed to make himself look even more pathetic. Michael Madsen whispered that magical line, ‘Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy, or are you gonna bite?’, with his turn as the psychopathic Mr Blonde, and Tim Roth wowed us all as Mr Orange, the man who brought the whole to its knees. Lawrence Tierney and Chris Penn were the father and son brains behind the operation and were a brilliant pairing.
Now, I’ve already revealed that Reservoir Dogs is my favourite Tarantino film, and I put that down to a number of reasons. There are the monumental performances that I’ve previously spoken about, or course, but the film is immensely quotable, with the dialogue from two scenes in particular making for very entertaining viewing (please note Mr Brown’s dissection of Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’ lyrics, and the story of Elois, the black cocktail waitress). For me, these two are among the most memorable scenes in cinema history, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact I’ve seen them both about seven or eight times.
Perhaps what I love the most about Reservoir Dogs however is the sheer simplicity of it. It’s a fairly well-known formula, but it is executed so, so well, and wasn’t over-done either – mind you, on a budget of what I think was $1.5million, you would be struggling to over-do it in all fairness. I think it is a combination of the sharp script and the first-class acting, both done very well, plus a wicked soundtrack and the financial limitations that the budget presented that really helped the film reach the levels of success it did.
However, I can’t forget the man – who later revealed himself to be a genius – who wrote and directed the film. It is this sort of thing that I strongly believe Tarantino does best. A raw, gritty drama with frequent flecks of side-splitting humour and razor-sharp dialogue gluing the whole thing together.
All in all, it’ll come as no surprise that I’m going to order you to see Reservoir Dogs if you haven’t already. I haven’t just sat for the last hour writing this for nothing, you know! There is nothing else I can say now that will convince you to see it that I haven’t said already. All the proof you’ll need is in the watching.